A regional security official is warning that police alone may not be able to adequately deal with the social fallout from rising unemployment and other economic challenges affecting the region.
And even though national crime statistics may not be pointing to a significant increase in violent crime at this time, Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Security Professionals (CASP) Oral Reid has also cautioned that the brazen nature of many of the reported acts has left Barbadian citizens on edge.
“Persons are shooting with impunity, shooting in broad daylight, crowded streets, public places,” he told the opening of CASP’s Annual Regional Conference at the Savannah Hotel this morning.
Reid, who is a former Assistant Superintendent of Police with the Royal Barbados Police Force, is therefore calling on local law enforcement authorities to solicit the support of private security officers in a national peacekeeping strategy.
However, he said his suggestion should not be viewed as any attack on the policing styles employed by the various agencies, but rather as an opportunity for citizens to recognize their role in the maintenance of law and order.
“I have listened to debates on crime and violence and I am acutely aware of the relevance of our socio-economic context within which the discourse is currently taking place,” said Reid, who pointed out that “along with the decline of industries, natural disasters have seriously damaged the economies of many of our small islands.
“Hence most of the credible research now shows significant outstanding public debt, unacceptable levels of unemployment and poverty,” the CASP president added.
In this environment, he stressed that a more collaborative crime fighting approach was necessary, but said private security agencies would need to demonstrate an ability to fit into the national law and order framework.
“The CASP is persuaded that national peacekeeping is not the responsibility of the police alone. Hence an environment needs to be created where private security owners and administrators and of course frontline operatives can demonstrate that they are capable of functioning in an environment of regulations and standards,” he contended.