Government lays out new crime plan
The Government’s response to crime will encompass policy, legislative and strategic action. In the course of this year, the Government will continue a strategic approach to combatting crime including improvements in internal communication, incorporation of more modern technology, increases in foot, mobile and maritime patrols throughout the island, and the introduction of a new Crime Management System which “will assist in monitoring and recording crime, statistics being an indispensable ingredient in managing our affairs.”
His Excellency Governor General Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac articulated the Government’s position and also acknowledged the country’s crime situation stating: “We must confront crimes which, today, run the gamut, from trade in illicit drugs and arms to domestic abuse and electronic crimes.”
“In order to bolster the strategic approach and increase the potential for success, training of our police will continue, and will cover such areas as interviewing and investigative techniques, the approach to sexual offences, evidence and the treatment of witnesses,” he stated.
As announced in the Throne Speech, by the end of this fiscal year the Government expects to move forward with the Use of Force Policy, a Code of Ethics, a Succession Plan and a Five-Year Strategic Plan within the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSPF) with a view to improving police administration.
“Crime is a national concern and responsibility, and communities are a critical part of the solution. Therefore, a full-fledged community policing programme will be rolled out and we urge all citizens and residents of Saint Lucia to support this endeavour for the sake of Saint Lucia, the only home we have.”
The Government will also upgrade police stations and address welfare concerns, explained the Governor General, adding that “a chaplaincy will be provided to cater to the spiritual needs of our police men and women and enhance their moral and ethical growth.”
Justice and Security also involves tackling and addressing wayward youth.
“The Child Justice Bill will establish the judicial process for a child who is in conflict with the law. It will allow for the designation of a place of assessment and, where necessary, a secure residential facility during the judicial process. The Bill will also ensure that the child is provided with an attorney, that the process is expeditious and that the child is given an opportunity to respond before decisions are taken which affect him or her,” explained His Excellency.
The Government will also be revising the Criminal Code to incorporate stiffer penalties for persons convicted of all forms of exploitation, such as human trafficking, sexual offences and gender-based violence. In addition to this, laws regarding the protection of the vulnerable persons in our society, including the elderly and the young, will also be reviewed.
Finally the Governor General spoke of plans for Codes of Practice in governing the detention, treatment, questioning and identification of persons by police officers to be introduced to supplement the Evidence Act, and employ procedures which accord with our country’s socio-cultural and legal environment.