Technology-driven approach to crime fighting in St. Kitts and Nevis

Kilony Johnson:  

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 9, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The recent investments made by the Team Unity Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to enhance the technological capabilities of law enforcement agencies in the country are yielding the desired result—a reduction in the commission of crimes in the Federation.

This investment in the technological advancements of the security forces, particularly the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF), was propelled in 2016 when the Government, with assistance from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), undertook phase 1 of the multimillion-dollar Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Project.

Phase 1 of this project has so far seen the installation of 345 CCTV VIVOTEK cameras in strategic locations in Basseterre and its surrounding environs, and the commissioning of a Command Center at the Police Headquarters. It also saw the installation of 12 network video recorders, twelve 49” televisions, about six servers and furniture for the command centre.

A final report on the CCTV Surveillance Project (Phase One), prepared by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty, stated that information gathered from actual investigations and recent crime trends show that the CCTV project has yielded positive results in both the prevention and solving of crimes.

Chief among these, according to the report, is the solving of a number of serious crimes, including robberies, breakings and larcenies, directly as a result of video footage produced by the cameras.

“There has been a significant reduction in the commission of serious crimes (homicides and non-fatal shootings) in areas where the cameras are installed, thus underscoring the project’s proactive and deterrent value to crime fighting,” the report stated.

It went on to say that the CCTV cameras have also provided useful information in a number of shooting incidents, and added that “the continuous monitoring of these cameras has enabled police to respond and address incidents such as fights and verbal confrontations, thus preventing these incidents from escalating into more serious crimes.”

Other notable investments in the technological upgrading of the police force by the Team Unity administration include the commissioning of a state-of-the-art forensic laboratory on Friday, April 27, 2018, as well as the provision of drones and Motorola radio handsets with GPS tracking capabilities.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has repeatedly said that his government will spare no expense in ensuring that St. Kitts and Nevis becomes the safest small island state in which to live, work and visit. The Government has over the last three years backed up that claim through the provision of record budgetary allocations to the Ministry of National Security.

In 2016, the Team Unity Government allocated $63 million to the Ministry of National Security. That figure increased to $72 million in 2017, which doubled the combined total amount allocated in 2014 ($15.3 million) and 2015 ($20.7 million).

Then in 2018, Prime Minister Harris’ administration allocated a total of $75.5 million to the Ministry of National Security.

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