Commissioner of Police Keith Miller’s 2012 Independence message
As we celebrate another year of Independence and development as a nation, I am moved to comment on some of our developments as a Police Force (Service). It is so important that our Police Force develop alongside our nation, seeing that security, law and order and tranquility are necessary for the development of our nation.
In ensuring this development, the Police Force, for 2012 alone, continues to be the recipient of very important assets/pieces of equipment, training for personnel and are engaged in discussions in respect of law reform.
For example, we are now in possession of a Hydraulic Shears machine, which is used for the destruction of obsolete firearms and persons have been trained to use and maintain same. In the past, the method of destruction was of concern; the shears is recommended as a more suitable option. We are also in possession of a DOT Peen Firearms Marking Machine. Personnel were also trained in the use and maintenance of this. It enables us to insert, in addition to the manufacturer’s identification marks, our unique identification on the department’s firearms, and all other firearms imported into the state will be engraved. This process will assist with easy identification of all marked firearms.
The electronic system to record interviews of accused/suspects for serious offences, and its supporting laws and training for personnel, must be seen as a means through which the credibility of our investigators who interview accused/suspects, would not be tarnished by allegations of inhumane treatment, threats and promises during the interviews, which sometimes led to voir dire in Court. It will help the Court to understand both the conduct of police and the accused/suspect during the process of interviews.
We have commenced discussions and preparation for the setting up of the Electronic Fingerprint Machine and Database. This will help with the instant processing of the relevant bio-data of prisoners both locally and around the region, seeing other islands will be networking.
Our two new Interceptor boats, the radio communication system, a vehicle and other assets were received from the Government of the United States of America, under the Secure Seas and Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) programmes. The construction of the Coastguard Base in Canouan will enhance our Coastguard personnel and maritime capability.
We have also received a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). This system is a relatively new technology. It was implemented on February 1, 1999, through amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. It is the international radio safety system mandated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for ships at sea. The primary purpose of the GMDSS is to automate and improve emergency communications for the world’s shipping industry. The GMDSS is really an internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircrafts. It consists of several systems, some of which are new, but many of which have been in operation for many years. The system is intended to perform the following functions: alerting (including position determination of the unit in distress), search and rescue coordination, locating (homing), maritime safety information broadcasts, general communications, and bridge-to-bridge communications. Specific radio carriage requirements depend upon the ship’s area of operation, rather than its tonnage. The system also provides redundant means of distress alerting, and emergency sources of power.
The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU) was established on March 7, 2012 and officially launched on April 13, 2012, as a result of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act No. 27 of 2011. Its main functions are:
(a)To investigate possible cases of trafficking in persons.
(b)To prosecute suspected traffickers.
(c)To train law enforcement agents in combating human trafficking.
(d)To inform the general public through awareness campaigns about trafficking in persons.
(e)To submit annual reports to the Minister of National Security on all pertinent matters concerning trafficking in persons.
Its establishment and roles so far, amongst other initiatives by the Government, have mitigated the threat by the United Nations to place St Vincent and the Grenadines on tier three of the watch list. The Unit continues to assist in fulfilling the mandate under the Act to ensure that St Vincent and the Grenadines is not blacklisted for not taking the necessary action against this and other related crimes.
Our personnel continue to take advantage of training that becomes available, whether they are departmentally or personally driven. During this year so far, personnel were exposed to training locally, regionally and internationally in areas such as: Caribbean Defence and Security, Law Enforcement, Small Arms Trafficking, Cyber Security and Cyber Crime, Trafficking in Persons and Performance Management and Development System (PMDS), while others are presently pursuing either associate or degree programmes at institutions around the region, the United States of America or England. Special mention must be made of the Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) training being pursued in the United States of America by a member of the Coastguard Service. Although this training concentrates mainly on maritime explosives, the learning acquired will be able to complement our K-9 unit when it is called out for duty.
Mention must be made also of personnel who are making use of online studies. For this year, another seven (7) persons have registered for the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) degree programmes in Information Technology (IT) and Human Resource Management. This brings the total to twenty (20) persons who have decided to advance themselves via this medium.
It is believed that more personnel are inclined to pursue academic development to take advantage of the Accelerated Promotion Policy, either for accelerated promotion or the increase in salary, which will soon be available under the Graduate Allowance, or to be able to operate in a more professional environment, which is facilitated through the Graduate Entry level. The experience gained from higher self-development and the level of professionalism of personnel will assist our men/women to better understand and perform their role more effectively and efficiently and the public will place more confidence in our ability to do so.
While we encourage personnel to develop themselves, we continue to ensure that their welfare is taken care of as we are very concerned about our men/women’s diet. For this reason, the services of the canteen have been extended to include the catering of meals freshly prepared at a reduced rate. We also encourage personnel to join our Group Insurance to ensure that they take advantage of the benefits under the policy, which includes life, health, dental and vision. Our children’s education is not left behind, seeing they are taken care of under the Scholarship Fund Policy.
Discussions are continuing in respect of Cyber Crime Laws to curb crimes committed via the Internet, and amendments to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Laws to address problems on our streets, given the influx of vehicles and the reckless conduct of some drivers on our roads, as well as improve the safety of road users.
These are some efforts which have been accomplished or pursued in an effort to ensure that our nation continues to mature and develop with minimal criminal/assault on its progress.
Let us work together as a nation to ensure the continuing development of our nation and our Police Force. Happy Independence!