Caribbean police commissioners conference addresses regional crime problems

Bahamas Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said on Monday that the five-day conference of Caribbean commissioners is not only timely but needed, as one of the key issues that will be discussed is crime, a hot issue throughout the region.

Greenslade, along with the members of the government and commissioners of police from across the Caribbean, was on hand at the official opening of the 27th annual meeting of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police.

He pointed out that the package of anti-crime bills passed in Parliament late last year had its genesis in the discussions on crime at last year’s conference.

“The genesis of a lot of those changes were as a result of discussions between Caribbean commissioners, more specifically the commissioner from Cayman, Bermuda and indeed Jamaica who spoke to the business of anonymity legislation; the business of increasing the penalty for gun crimes and for targeting prolific offenders, and the need to ensure that the legislation has teeth so that we can get some traction,” Greenslade said during a press conference after the official opening of the event.

Among the bills passed were the Evidence Amendment Bill, the Penal Code Amendment Bill, the Criminal Procedure Code Amendment Bill, the Court of Appeal Amendment Bill, the Pawnbrokers and Second-hand Dealers Bill, the Customs Management Bill, the Criminal Evidence Witness Anonymity Amendment Bill, the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill and the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Bill.

“One of the issues that will be given primacy will be the illicit trafficking of weapons and certainly the concomitant problems that result,” said Greenslade.

“We will also be looking at problems around the investigation of cyber crime and as we extend that particular topic, high tech crime. Given the technological advances that we now see, that is a very complex, complicated arena to work in and certainly demands comparative advantage and tremendous skills. We will also be looking at the business of trafficking persons.”

The conference was also held in The Bahamas last year and attracted police commissioners from over 20 Caribbean countries.

National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage pointed out during the press conference that Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Force officers will be working much more closely together in the war against crime than they have before.

“It’s going to be based on intelligence policing,” he said. “Obviously the police force has the primary role in the prevention of criminal activity and the defence force will have a supportive role. But how closely? As closely as necessary for us to achieve our objective.”

The five-day conference ends on Friday.

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