Eighteen officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) are receiving critical training geared towards improving officers’ safety in the line of duty.
The officers are participating in a Tactical Safety & Planning Course, under the auspices of the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Training, International Training Section.
The one-week training programme started today and ends on Friday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at the Regional Police Training Centre, Christ Church, United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Linda Taglialatela said that given the knowledge that worldwide job-related injuries of police officers are five times greater than those of the average working population, it is important that lawmen are given support through training and provided with crime-fighting equipment.
The ambassador said that over the course of the next five days, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) instructors will demonstrate the value of utilizing and improving police techniques in the area of operational planning, risk assessment, defensive tactics and basic medical trauma skills.
Taglialatela said the procedures are designed to enhance the protection of frontline officers whose daily responsibilities include responding to criminal activities.
Making reference to the death of officer Sergeant Newton Lewis who was gunned down in his Rose Hill, St Peter community during a robbery in May, the Ambassador said today’s crime is unfortunately more violent in nature.
She added: “In addition to training and updated operational procedures, I am pleased to announce that the United States Embassy will also provide tactical uniforms and lifesaving medical kits specifically designed for use by police operating in high-risk situations. This week’s programme represents just one component of our ongoing security cooperation efforts in Barbados and throughout the Eastern Caribbean.”
She said the United States’ support for the Eastern Caribbean law enforcement partners will see further growth as the embassy plans the renovation of facilities at the Regional Police Training Centre over the next year.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce described the training as timely, pointing out that despite the pains of the pandemic, the environment remains ripe for criminal activity. In fact, Boyce stressed that aspects of criminality have taken sophisticated forms, demonstrating that the complexities are global in nature.
He said organized crime in this environment is growing and is rooted in greed and power to such an extent that there seem now to be no borders and that while criminals have developed new strands for the purpose of operating, it has become important that there be strengthening in bilateral and multilateral relationship, along with the cultivation of informal networks. Boyce said the law enforcement community must not be singular in crafting responses but must speak to the ‘we’ rather than I.
The Deputy Commissioner said: “There is no doubt that technology has grown in the interim. Indeed, it has shown us some good and bad. While it has ushered in and expanded the mode of the communication in an efficient manner, it has also provided many with the opportunity to conduct nefarious activities in real time.
“Technology has brought people closer while at the same time presented new ways in which to commit crime in an organised structure. This is particularly evident in highly organised crime structures such as narcotic, human trafficking, and money laundering construct.”
Boyce added: “We can agree that continual development skills are more essential because the challenges on the job are constantly changing. There are fundamental changes to our environment and we are called upon to keep pace with those changes and for the force to be on the cutting edge or proactive we must ensure that officers have the skills necessary to meet both current and future needs.” (AH)