Three Canada-based Vincentians are among a group from York Regional Police who are in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help establish the Sexual Assault Offences Unit of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF).
During a ceremony at Police Headquarters in Kingstown on Thursday, the team handed over to the local constabulary computers and other networking equipment, manuals on sexual assault investigations, digital voice recorders, buccal swabs and other paraphernalia needed to set up or to be used by the unit.
Team leader, Staff Sergeant Tony Brown, who is originally from Coulls Hill, is into his 34th year with the York Regional Police.
He is trained in major crime and sexual assault investigations and met detective Assistant Superintendent of Police Sydney James of the RSVGPF at a training course in Ottawa.
James made the initial inquiry that led to the donation of the equipment and the setting up of the unit, a pledge that Commissioner of Police Michael Charles has made to Vincentians.
Brown said that having spoken to Charles and James, he approached his chief and requested some equipment, training manuals, and supplies for the RSVGPF.
He said that the York Regional Police changes computers every two or three years.
Those donated to the RSVGPF have been wiped clean and reloaded with software and are of significant value, he said.
He highlighted the importance of information communication technology in fighting sexual assault, noting that in some instances networking plays a major role in convicting persons.
“So this is for the betterment of all Vincentians. … We feel proud that we are giving back,” Brown said, adding that the York Regional Police will continue to build the relationship and assist in whatever way it can to improve the unit in the future.
Meanwhile, Charles said he was elated that the unit was becoming a reality, and lauded James for his effort.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines, today, and more so, the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, we are in a better position, thanks to the York Regional Police,” he said.
Charles said that he believes that the unit, which will have a 10-member complement of mostly officers in the initial stage, will help to solve sexual assault crimes.
The team also includes Florette Israel, who is originally from Stoney Ground.
“I have always indicated to Tony who has volunteered many a times to Jamaica and I’ve always said to him why Jamaica and why not us,” she said.
Taiwan-trained Vincentian, Casroy Cain, who has been living in Canada for six years, is also a part of the team.
“As a Vincentian who left, I’ve always wanted to give back and as soon as I spoke with Tony and I heard about this initiative, I just got on board,” said Cain, who is originally from Richland Park and is a civilian member of the Police Force.