Police trained in evidence gathering
July 31, 2009
Police trained in evidence gathering

A two-day workshop for 25 police officers of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and two members of the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force, aimed at enhancing their forensic capabilities, was held here this week.{{more}}

The workshop, which ended on Wednesday, saw local and regional facilitators, as well as personnel from the United States Department of Defence and the Florida National Guard State Partnership Program sharing techniques on the practice and procedure for the collection and preservation of evidence, chain of custody and forensic analysis.

Head of the International contingent Hector Sotolongo indicated that information gathered at the workshop will be assessed, and a programme catering to the needs of the local constabulary will be prepared.

Addressing the opening of the workshop, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller said that the workshop will help strengthen the cases of officers when they present evidence at court.

He asked officers to put in practice the act of following up on their cases from investigation to disposal.

“The main aim of the defence is to target … the weakness of police procedure and put in a no case submission. No one wants a no case submission brought against them. This workshop is to help you to get a better understanding of procedures. I am sure that every policeman smiles when he has a conviction.

“Follow matters in court, so that when comments are made by the judge or the magistrate or the DPP, where you would have made a mistake, you will see where you make mistakes as a learning experience, so that you would not make that mistake again.”

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams, who also addressed the officers, urged them to apply what is learned at the workshop and to adopt the modern techniques.

“Fighting crime cannot be done the traditional or old way. We always have to improve our techniques, refine our approaches. The basics will remain the same… we need to address our techniques and approaches in terms of how do you collect, preserve, test the exhibits and ensure that the chain of custody is maintained.”

“It is important to get it right the first time and keep it right. It is not what you feel or believe. It is what you can prove.”

The Commissioner indicated that a prosecution workshop, similar to this one, aimed at having proper presentations in court, is in the process of being organized.(JJ)