Despite recent successes in combatting crime, the Royal Barbados Police Force has been affected by Government’s money crunch and finds itself in an “untenable situation” in terms of its staffing.
This was revealed today by the Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith, who said there were currently some 150 officers – between the rank of sargeant and deputy commissioner – whose promotions were being held up by litigation in the courts.
“The force remains hamstrung and unable to provide a key motivating factor; that of upward mobility,” Griffith said, noting that “at the same time, the level of supervision suffers”.
“I have knocked on several doors in this regard, [but] to no avail. I ask myself if anyone understands the predicament that the body charged with the safety and security of the nation finds itself in. Yet already with the occurrence of the heinous murder of [attorney-at-law] Dana Seethahal in Trinidad and Tobago, we have been hearing several calls for increased security measures to be implemented,” Griffith added.
In the wake of the Seethahal killing, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock was quoted in the press here last week As saying that there was need for an improvement in security arrangements for the island’s judicial officers, while revealing that he did not have personal security.
But the top cop said this morning that while the force was committed to do all it could to ensure the safety of judicial officers, its resources were not infinite, and as such, deployment of resources had to take cognizance of all of their demands.
This meant, he said, that risk and threat assessments would be critical in determining how its finite resources were utilized.
His comments came in an address to the Barbados Police Association’s annual general meeting at which he gave an update on police efforts to combat crime.
Griffith said despite the challenges, the force had still managed to record a 24 per cent drop in crime for the first quarter of this year.
“Robbery so far, in the four months, stands at 73, compared with 169 in the previous year, a reduction of some 57 per cent. Theft from the person, stands at 46 as compared with 126 cases for the same period last year, a reduction of 63 per cent in crime.
“Residential burglaries dropped from 602 in 2013, to 375 in 2014, which is a 38 percent decrease and commercial burglaries from 167 to 113. [This was] a 32 per cent decrease in such crimes,” said Griffith.
He added that the decline had been buttressed by the fact that, to date, the Force has been able to solve most of the very serious crimes occurring across the island.