BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Two tactical units in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) are undergoing reforms to consolidate gains achieved in 2018 that led to the enhancement of public safety in the Federation. During his Jan. 16 monthly press conference, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, also said Regional Security System (RSS) will support of law enforcement operations in St. Kitts and Nevis as long as they are needed.
“Since most of the violent criminal activities have been linked to gangs, the Anti-Gang and the Anti-Drug Taskforce will be reorganized to achieve more efficacious outcomes,” the prime minister said.
The Anti-Gang Unit operates primarily in the rural areas of St. Kitts and is comprised of officers from the RSCNPF, St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force and Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department. The Anti-Drug Unit or Drug Squad, as it is commonly referred to, carries out interdictory efforts related to narcotics.
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Adolph Adams, said the restructuring process involves changes to the men and women in the units to maximize the skills and experience of key personnel. New tactical strategies will also be included in their operations.
Previously, the RSCNPF revealed that preliminary data indicated that the number of crimes reported [in 2018] was down and the detection rate was set to equal or surpass the previous year.
Additionally, the number of homicides last year was the same as 2017. The last reported case of homicide in the twin-island Federation was in October 2018.
“More operations will be targeted at the recovery of illegal firearm,” Dr. Harris added. “Our air and sea port operations will pay greater attention to detection and confiscation of illegal contraband including the guns and the ammunition.”
RSS troops to continue their support
The deployment of security officials under the Regional Security System (RSS) in support of law enforcement operations in St. Kitts and Nevis will continue in 2019.
“They [the RSS] will be here as long as the High Command of our security forces deems the support to be necessary,” Dr. Harris said.
The RSS was deployed in St. Kitts and Nevis in October 2018 to complement the local security forces. The additional manpower has resulted in several successes by law enforcement, including the seizure of 37 illegal firearms in 2018.
“The presence of the RSS provides the opportunity for enhanced learning and training for the Police Force and for building its capacity to work in operations across law enforcement agencies at home and abroad,” the prime minister said. “Our citizens, residents and visitors are deeply appreciative of the work of our law enforcement officers and I encourage our security officers to exhibit utmost professionalism when serving and protecting our people.
“I wish to place on record my appreciation and gratitude to the Member States of the RSS for their contribution to the enhanced peace and security which we have experienced since October 2018. I commend Acting Commissioner [of Police] Hilroy Brandy, the High Command, and all other officers, on a job well done.”
The prime minister noted, “The RSS is a critical asset available to all member states.” These are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We [St. Kitts and Nevis] are the only country in the sub-region, the OECS plus Barbados that is regular … and up-to-date in our payments to the RSS. In fact, over the last 4 years we have contributed $7.4 million as membership dues to RSS. This is our contribution to the preservation of regional security,” Dr. Harris said.
The prime minister thanked the security forces in St. Kitts and Nevis for their dedicated efforts to enhance public safety. He also praised the assistance of the team from the Regional Security System (RSS) who has buttressed the tactical operations of local law enforcement.
“My government believes in law and order and every effort will be made to ensure the safety and security of Kittitians and Nevisians and all who reside in and visit our beautiful country,” Prime Minister Harris said.