The matter has also attracted much attention from opposition politicians and at times even the media have expressed concern over the manner in which the information is provided and the amount of details shared, especially when compared to years prior the tenure of the current Commissioner of Police, CG Walwyn.
There are also those who have criticized the Commissioner for embarking on a crusade of arrests, even when there is insufficient evidence to charge some of the suspects taken into custody. What is worse, say some family members of such victims, is that “suspects” are being kept incarcerated, even though it is clear that guilt is not present, or that no evidence is present to support the police actions.
Why this is done, claim some politicians and now even some members of the legal fraternity, is to boost the arrest statistics of the police force. It is explained that police success is measured, not in terms of convictions, but arrests made for the alleged crime.
This is not a claim that has been ignored by the Commissioner who rebuffs such allegations by pointing to the successes he says have been achieved since coming to office. For Commissioner Walwyn, “crime is down”.
While the boast of the Commissioner in this regard is accurate for some months, when compared to the same period in previous years, members of the public have claimed that Walwyn is seeking to confuse and mislead the public into a false sense of security. They say the police is using a reduction in certain months in one year to give the impression that crime overall has been falling for a number of years and generally is on a downward trajectory.
This however has not deterred the Commissioner who highlights that the statistics are clear and are on his side of the argument.
“Our crime is down -39.5% for the first six months of 2014 over the first six months of 2013, said Walwyn in a recent interview with a government agency.
He said the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force publishes their monthly stats on the police Facebook and police website at www.police.gov.kn or www.sknpolice.com where citizens can also have access to information on daily arrests.
“We will continue to work on reducing crime and the fear of crime in the Federation, and ask that the persons who posted that very damaging hoax picture on the BBM refrain from maliciously wasting the resources of the nation’s emergency and rescue services…”
To support his argument about crime reduction and how success could be rated, Walwyn pointed to the situation in another Caribbean county, saying, “Jamaica, just this week, celebrated an 11% decrease, that made the news for them. It is always good news when the crime drops below at least 3%. Here in the Federation our crime has been constantly dropping sometimes in the 50’s and 60’s percentile. Because we have been having reduced rates in crime, people get concerned, and they should be, whenever incidents of high profile occur. The reality is that crime will occur in the Federation, as it does everywhere in the Caribbean and all over the world.”
While Walwyn makes that point, citizens however, counter by expressing concern that people are being killed and worse, in many cases the crimes are not being solved. Also, reminded one lawyer, the wrong people are being arrested and eventually have to be released, leaving families still wondering who killed their loved ones.
A recent case where a young man sued the government and won the case for his arrest and incarceration for almost two years, for a murder he has since being freed of, has prompted new dialogue, on the approach being taken by police and the methods used in holding “innocent” citizens for crimes they may not have committed.
We have a very dedicated group of police officers here in the Federation, said Walwyn. “They deserve positive, productive, and progressive leadership. I want to continue providing them with that leadership by reinforcing the work of the police force and reaching out to the community. Despite our challenges, we still continue to reduce crime in the Federation.”