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Caribbean police commissioners talk citizen security

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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019. 7:46 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: According to Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, Belize has seen for this year the largest decrease in reported crime in the Caribbean region.

But he is not about to take a victory lap, and last week attended the annual meeting of Commissioners of Police in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, as a member of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP).

Among topics on the agenda under the wider purview of citizen security are combating the increase of crime in the region; gang violence; computer crimes; intelligence-led policing; community policing, and other topics.

 On the matter of gangs, Commissioner Williams made note that while it has long been an offense in Belize, as in some parts of the region, to be a gang member; it has to be proven by evidence. “I know some people often say, ‘If being a gang [member] is a crime, then why can’t the police [just] arrest the gang members?’ It does not work like that. The Gang Task Force and other intelligence arms of our Department continue to work tirelessly, putting together the relevant evidence, and I am sure by the end of this week, or early next week, we will be parading another number of gang members before the court, for them to answer charges under that piece of law. It is an effective tool that we must use as part of our crime-fighting strategy.”

 On the matter of police welfare and his own showdown with Police Association chief Eldon Arzu, the Association has issued a response to be shared publicly, but according to Williams, they have backed him, insisting that they do not interfere in the internal running of any regional police force, and that the Caribbean Welfare Federation of Police ought not to have done so, as Belize is not a member of that Federation.

The Association’s new executive is led by Colin John of St. Vincent and the Greandines, assisted by the top cops of Antigua and Barbuda and Montserrat.

 

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