A suspect is in custody tonight and is expected to be charged tomorrow in connection with the theft of guns and ammunition from A&C Security Services Limited on Barbarees Hill, St Michael on Tuesday night.
Police also announced tonight their intention to heighten crime intelligence and awareness as the force expressed particular concern over this latest cache of arms and ammunition now on the streets.
“The proliferation of guns on the streets has to be a concern to us, because once persons are in possession of guns, there is a possibility that there would be certain types of criminal activity occurring. Of course it would be a concern to us,” acting police public relations officer Station Sergeant Roland Cobbler told Barbados TODAY this evening.
“It therefore means that we would have to heighten our awareness . . . try to heighten our intelligence,” Cobbler emphasized.
This break-in also drew words of warning from the local branch of the regional organization that represents the private security sector in Barbados.
Chairman of the Barbados Chapter of the Caribbean Association of Security Professionals (CASP) and retired Assistant Superintendent of Police Oral Reid told Barbados Today that this incident should be a lesson to private security firms of the need to get their own houses in order.
“Incidents of this type should bring all security establishments to a position where they should recognize the need to focus on their own security; security of the buildings that they currently occupy,” Reid cautioned tonight.
He said CASP would continue to train the private professionals and emphasize safety and security, which should begin at the home offices.
“Our role will continue to be one of training, working with security agencies to highlight the importance of security and safety issues; and clearly if we are speaking to safety and security issues, those kinds of considerations should begin at home, home at the organization and not just what the security officer does when he goes out to provide services to his clients. I think there is a lesson to be learned here,” the former senior police officer pointed out.
Reid also said that this latest crime involving the theft of firearms in particular, was an ideal opportunity for Barbadians to share information with the police.
Asked what he thought the implications of so many weapons on the streets were for the island’s national security, he gave the assurance that the members of the local constabulary were quite competent to handle the situation.
“I have confidence in the members of the Royal Barbados Police Force to manage this situation. It is not the first time that we have had incidents involving the use of firearms in Barbados; and the police agency has been able to identify perpetrators and to bring those persons to justice,” he noted.
However, the retired Assistant Superintendent of Police was of the view that the key to combating rising crime in Barbados was the support officers could receive from the community.
“[Barbadians] by now should recognize the dangers associated with firearms being in the hands of untrained persons; because my experience is that more often than not, persons who would brandish these firearms, persons who would use these fire arms are not trained to use them. And so I would appeal for the support of members of the community in sharing that information with the police so that these matters can be adequately investigated.”
Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith has already pointed fingers at some officials at the ports of entry, blaming them for assisting in the smuggling of guns into Barbados, and has called on them to work with the police to stem the influx of these weapons.
But the bargaining agents for Customs officers, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW); said it was outraged by the commissioner’s comments, deeming them as inflammatory.
The union also suggested that if the commissioner had evidence that Customs official were aiding and abetting
the smuggling of illegal firearms, he should identify and prosecute them.