A town hall meeting at the Alleyne School in Belleplaine, St Andrew turned sour yesterday as some residents walked out in disgust over the decision to relocate the Belleplaine Police Station to District F Police Station in St Joseph.
The protesting residents contended that the closure of the police station was “a slap” in their faces and “gross disrespect”, despite assurances from the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) that this was not the case.
Divisional Commander of the North Acting Superintendent Bruce Rowe and Senior Superintendent Eucklyn Thompson explained that the Belleplaine Police Station had been condemned by engineers as far back as the 1980s because it was structurally unsound.
During the two-hour meeting residents raised a number of concerns, ranging from the security of visitors to the security of keys to Government buildings, including the DaCosta Edwards Primary School.
However, the officers disclosed that a vehicle would be assigned to the area, while a second would be assigned to the parish of St Joseph. They also said the RBPF would continue to partner with the Barbados Defence Force in patrolling the parish and that there were plans to place a mobile station in the parish during the day until a new complex was constructed. Provisions will be made for the safe keeping of keys belonging to Government facilities, they also assured the participants.
Meanwhile, Rowe told residents that St Andrew was not one of the island’s “hotspots” for crime. He said while there had been an increase in drug-related arrests, the number of reported crimes between 2012 and 2015 ranged from a low of 81 in 2014 to a high of 123 the previous year.
“Basically we have seen an increase in drug matters where landings are being carried out. The eastern coastline seems to be an area preferred by drug smugglers. However, we have been able to put a handle on it. Our only area of increased crime would be in drug interdiction. For 2016 we have recorded 20 such cases. However, St Andrew is not seen as a hotspot. We usually get quite a bit of domestic type issues and as you may know the Force has embarked heavily in eliminating domestic violence issues. We are getting a grip on domestic violence issues,” he said.