The Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom continue to provide assistance to the criminal justice system in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) by supporting the introduction of national case file standards.
One hundred officers of the Royal SVG Police Force (RSVGPF) participated in a training workshop on a new system that will improve the quality and content of criminal case files submitted by the police to prosecutors.
Standardized case files enable police and prosecutors to prosecute cases more efficiently while ensuring that cases can be managed and presented in a coherent and professional manner at trial.
Standardizing criminal case file management is expected to reduce delays in the hearing of criminal matters and increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.
The National Case File Standards were jointly produced by the US/UK Criminal Justice Reform Project and the Regional Security System (RSS).
The workshop took place recently at the Old Montrose Police Station, where facilitators Sirah Abraham, criminal justice advisor to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, and Major Kerry Waterman, director of risk management and policy at the RSS, trained senior officers on the concepts of early evidential reviews, file building, and case management.
Further training will include a “train the trainer” component to ensure that the initiative is sustainable and fully embedded within the RSVGPF and among other key criminal justice actors.
The training was attended by officers from various units including the Criminal Investigations Department, the Firearms Brigade, the Coast Guard, the Marine Unit, the Drugs Squad, Special Branch, Special Services Unit, the Training School, the Rapid Response Unit as well as prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the National Prosecution Service.
Police Commissioner Colin John thanked the U.S. and UK governments for their continued support to the RSVGPF. He acknowledged the challenges faced by officers in the preparation of the files, and called on participants to pass on the knowledge learned to their peers.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Leonard Fergus, added that the creation of the Legal Research and Policy Unit, which is tasked with reviewing case files before they progress to the DPP, reflects the force’s commitment to proper case file preparation and securing justice for victims and complainants.