February 20, 2007
Top Cop in the Federation Commissioner Austin Williams hailed the accomplishments of the Nevis Strategic Planning Group in the Nevis Police Division for having faced the challenges associated with development and for the strategies they had implemented which had resulted in four consecutive years of success. Their proactive approach he said had made Nevis one of the world’s safest destinations.
The newly appointed Commissioner who is a Nevisian by birth, made the comment at the fifth Police Appreciation Awards 2007 which was held at the Old Manor Hotel, Gingerland on February 16, 2008.
“We have witnessed the emergence of new forms of crimes such as copyright violations, money laundering, counterfeiting and other financial and white collar crimes. We are also seeing the transformation of more traditional crimes such as murder, now murder for hire or involving firearms, prostitution is becoming more organized and substance abuse is now more than illicit rum, it has added to the list a large variety of psychotropic substances.
“Nevertheless, the Nevis Strategic Planning Group is not sitting by idly and doing nothing in the face of these challenges. Instead, they have implemented strategies in response and have achieved great success over some four consecutive years in making Nevis one of the world’s safest destinations,” he said.
Prior to 2007, the Nevis Police Division had succeeded in a reduction of crime through a number of the Group’s initiatives but had experienced a slight increase last year.
Commissioner Williams said the increase in crime was a reminder of the hash reality that as the Federation continued to develop, increased crime was likely but nonetheless, the Police should be prepared.
“We must however be prepared to absorb the impact of this increase in crime. We must however, be prepared to absorb the impact of this increase by making our Police force more effective and efficient. I am proud to say the Nevis Strategic Planning Group is two or more steps ahead in managing the increase of crime in Nevis.
“We on the St. Kitts end will continue to work together in sharing information, intelligence and human resource and give logistical support. We can only succeed by a united front,” he said.
The Top Cop said the newly appointed team of Commissioners had pledged to serve the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and would do so with integrity, accountability and impartiality. He said St. Kitts and Nevis would be given priority in the area of National Security and the fight against crime in the Federation must be approached in an unbiased and transparent manner.
He said it was his belief that that has been the goal of the Federal government and he would make every effort to achieve it.
Notwithstanding, Commissioner Williams said though he had made the point in previous forums, the police could not fight crime alone.
“We need the eyes, ears and testimonies of the public to be able to better manage the increase in crime. You the public have a moral obligation to share information or ideas you have on crime or criminal activity and we the police have an equal obligation to protect your information.
“I have already indicated my seriousness in dealing with any officer who breaches confidence. We believe that our credibility is rooted in confidentiality and so I will do all in my power in my capacity as Commissioner to tackle head on any suspected or reported breach of confidence,” he said.
The Commissioner noted too, that the police had been receiving the assistance of the public which had doubled over the last few months which he contended was an indication that restored confidence in the police was on the rise.
“I will not stop preaching the message of police public cooperation. I strongly believe that the success we have had in the past was a result of strong ties with the public and if we are to succeed in the fight against crime we must foster police public relations,” he said.
Meantime, Head of the Nevis Police Division Superintendent Samuel Seabrookes outlined the formation of the Nevis Strategic Planning Group, its objectives and its achievements.
He said the Group was formed to stem the flow of a crime wave which seemed to have been creeping into Nevis after the December 2002 crime figures for that year had increased to an all time high of 391 reports with a detection of only 144.
The Group comprised of the Divisional Commander, Inspectors, Station Officers and Heads of Departments. Ranks had equal status and the suggestion of each member was heeded without prejudice. The executive positions of chairperson and secretary were filled by Sergeants.
The Group’s objective was to strategise and implement a plan of action which would halt or slow down the crime wave.
Superintendent Seabrookes said the result of the Group’s initiatives were overwhelming. The crime statistics for 2003 showed that 252 crimes were reported which was 139 less than the 391 reported in 2002 of these 136 or a 54.4 percent were detected and the reduction was 36 percent.
In 2004 there were 241 crimes reported and 112 or 46 percent were detected; In 2005 291 crimes were reported and 139 or 48 percent were detected; in 2006 there were 270 crimes reported with 135 or 50 percent detected and in 2007 there were 284 reported with 129 or 45.4 percent detected.