In its efforts to address the continued decades old problem of violent crimes in particular murders St.Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris announced yesterday a number of crime fighting and prevention initiatives that will enhance and strengthen the criminal justice system and the St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force.
In his statement delivered at the at the first working session of Parliament since Team Unity was elected to office on February 16th, 2015 Prime MINISTER Dr. Harris announced a number of initiatives that have been implemented and some that will be implemented shortly to battle the decades old problem of murders.
The upgrade and enhancement of the Forensic Services Unit was one of the initiatives announced by PM Harris. He stated that “The Forensic Services unit will very shortly occupy new space in the Old Magistrate Court Room at Police Headquarters, where officers will now be better able and equipped to conduct forensic tests which they were previously not able to conduct due to space and other constraints. The Criminal Record Office will also be relocated to this new location where its services to the public will be enhanced.”
Prime Minister Harris also stated that Police Personnel have been recently sent overseas for advance training in ballistics.
“The High Command of the Police Force continues to invest in its human capital to strengthen its crime fighting capabilities. One officer who recently qualified as a firearms examiner is presently overseas pursing advance training in firearm ballistics. On his return he will be able to conduct ballistic tests on firearms suspected to have been used in crime. This will no doubt enhance the Force’s ability to link firearms used in crime to suspects, thereby improving our detection rate,” said PM Harris who is also the Minister of National Security. They have also invested in tactical gear wholesale so that they have a full range of equipment available. A State of the Art Microscope is among new equipment that has been procured by the government to enhance the Forensic Service Unit of the Police Force.
Dr. Harris stated “My Government is providing support to the work of the Crime Scene Unit by providing a very sensitive state-of-the art Microscope to help the forensic department to better identify firearms used in crime. This is an extra-budgetary expense but one which is considered very necessary at this time. If the Police are to improve in their detection rates through the use of Ballistics, they must have the resources to do so. My government is prepared to meet all reasonable requests for resource support if the end result is a reduction in crime.”
It was also announced that a new Fire Arms Unit will be introduced with personnel support and training by Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm (ATF) in the United States.
“In July, the Force will introduce a Firearms Unit which will be trained and supported by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm (ATF) in the United States. This unit will work closely with this US Federal Agency to trace firearms used in crime locally to determine their origin and possible entry into the Federation,” Dr. Harris announced
Harris also made mention of the recent deployment of a full time contingent of Defense Force Personnel on Nevis which he stated has already paid dividends. He also indicated that steps have been taken to strengthen the Special Services Unit.
“Steps have been taken to strengthen the Special Services Unit, (SSU) through the amalgamation of several tactical units and the restructuring of the leadership, roles and functioning of the new entity. This is intended to improve the operational capability of our tactical wing. The Police are involved with discussion with the Defense Force to facilitate continuation of the amalgamation of tactical units to ultimately provide a more robust 24-hour capability, with on-going patrols sustained on a daily basis.
This new arrangement has already begun to bear fruits. Over the last two weeks joint high visibility operations with the Defense Force, Customs and Ross University K9 Units, were conducted in Cayon, Newtown, McKnight, Shadwell, Conaree and La Guerite,” stated PM Harris
St.Kitts-Nevis has been plagued for the last decade and more by the problem of violent crimes in particular murders. Although all other categories of crime has seen significant reduction over the last 4 months as compared to a similar period last year murders continue to be of a major concern in the federation.