What’s the plan for crime? (Pt II)
When it comes to public demonstration of and hands-on experience, the Chamber could not resist repeating here the public warning given by Superintendent Johnny Abraham at the conclusion of a crime operation in Longdenville, Chaguanas, leading to the recovery of a .38 revolver, five rounds of ammunition and the arrest of persons suspected of crime in the Central Division. As the leader of this operation, he warned criminals: “For the New Year, we are starting off with a bang and we want people to know we will be with them every step of the way. We are going to make sure that crime does not increase or reach the level as in previous years. I want to appeal to victims and eyewitnesses to come forward with any information they have, and let’s clean up the Division.”
In the Chamber’s view, this is the type of New Year’s resolution which every law enforcement officer should make and keep so that the commitment of those on the ground, like Superintendent Abraham could be a given.
But, this swallow, by itself, does not make a summer of peace, for which law abiding citizens have longed year after year. The Chamber shares the view of Gillian Lucky, Director of the Police Complaints Authority, that the detection rate by the police remains much too low. Commissioner Gibbs and his team need to work at this, although t detection rate was admittedly appalling even before he assumed office. The PSC must also adopt this target as theirs, too, for the low detection rate was also a concern even before its Chairman and other members began to serve.
If policing and reporting of crime makes the message delivered by Superintendent Abraham, the first dream to come true in 2012, Attorney General Ramlogan, Minister Sandy and Minister Volney need to also not only resolve, but deliver, and make good on the promise by the Prime Minister to better deliver in 2012, speedier trials for those charged with crime and an increase in those numbers when the detection rate improves, being mindful of the need to win the support of the Judiciary and Magistracy. Minister Volney must fast-track all the legislation on which he and his Ministry have been working for over a year, to abolish Preliminary Enquires, to introduce radar timing devices and to resource the agencies necessary to implement the measures to expedite trials including the use of DNA, if only to make the warning to criminals by Superintendent Abraham, not a hollow, inconsequential one.
Our prison system, parole and the monitoring of sex offenders, accused on bail and convicts on parole will assume greater necessity, if the other blocks in the wall of detection and conviction are put in place. Commissioner of Prisons, Martin Martinez and his line Ministers, must buy into the message from Superintendent Abraham, and, more importantly, its implementation and delivery.
It appears to the Chamber that the PSC and Government have a lot upon which to chew here. The experience of the private sector in addressing such challenges on the job, is result-oriented towards a stated overall objective with a strategic action plan to achieve it. It must include targets and performance reviews along the way, for measurement and accountability.
Over to you, Police Service Commission.