With eight murders less than a month into 2019, five involving the use of firearms, Deputy Police Commissioner Erwin Boyce is telling Barbadians the numbers, though worrying, do not paint the full picture.
Boyce explained that while the numbers racked up so early in the year were indeed staggering, they must be analysed in context.
“This is something from the police force’s perspective that we would not have anticipated at the beginning of the year. The level of consistency is extremely worrying. However, we must put it in context because it is only then we understand what is happening. What we are seeing in these cases is a victim-offender knowledge of each other. So, therefore, these cases could have genesis elsewhere to where the shooting actually occurred,” explained Boyce, who was
speaking to reporters following the closing ceremony for the online child exploitation investigations training course at the Regional Police Training Centre, Seawell, Christ Church today.
To date, Barbados has recorded eight murders, which puts the murder rate at 2.8 per 100 thousand, while Trinidad, which has recorded 32 murders thus far, has a rate of 2.3 per 100 thousand. Last year, Trinidad and Tobago recorded 516 murders, which represented a rate per 100 thousand that was five times more than Barbados, which recorded 28 murders for the same period.
Responding to calls for police to take more of a big stick approach to Barbados’ gun crime situation, Boyce explained that law enforcement has always operated within the parameters of the constitution of Barbados and this current wave of violence was not about to force a deviation from that practice.
“We are a law enforcement organization guided by the constitution of the land. We have boundaries, we have general standing orders, we are an accredited force and we know what direction to go and how far to go in relation to how we do our operations and how we respond to situations. So, we will always demonstrate the best way to do things. This way will ensure that John Public has the confidence in the organisation and that there is a peace of mind and less anxiety as it relates to these crimes,” the high-ranking lawman said.
However, the deputy commissioner made it clear that while fear was a natural response to the spike in these types of crimes, the police were on top of the situation.
“We know that there would be alarm, there would be anxieties and some peace of mind disruption. But we want to assure Barbados that operationally, the Royal Barbados Police Force and its partners are working towards ensuring that the peace of mind returns and there is less anxiety as it relates to that type of crime,” he said.
Without going into detail, Boyce explained that the force has a number of strategies – short, medium and long-term on which they are working. “Once we get the full corporation of all of our partners then we are going to have a much more peaceful society,” Boyce added.