New technology surrounding the police force and the recruitment process was laid out as part as St. Kitts and Nevis Royal Police Force’s crime-fighting efforts during a press conference delivered by Commissioner of Police Ian M. Queeley.

These new technologies focused on all aspects of the crime-fighting campaigns currently ongoing within the federation. Some technologies increase the police’s ability to communicate, such as an upgraded push-to-talk radio system.

“Upgrades with regard to the use of new tech in our police force is evident with the roll-out of the digital radio system,” Queeley said. “This has significantly improved our radio communications. An officer in Tabernacle on St. Kitts can now speak to an officer in Gingerland on Nevis.”

This push button communication system allows communication between officers at all areas of the federation whenever and wherever the need is present. The force has also pushed to upgrade the wide area network, which provides land, air and sea reports to help monitor suspicious activity. The system can now reach surrounding islands such as Antigua, Anguilla, St. Maarten and Tortola.

Interdepartmentally, there has been an upgrade in teleconferencing abilities for all agencies, allowing the police force to host conferences electronically with agencies such as the SKNDF, the Coast Guard and the fire stations.

With the increase in technology, the recruiting process has been geared around the understanding of 21st Century crime fighting.

“In the last six months, there has been an increased focus on our recruiting efforts,” Queeley said. “This effort is one that is geared toward the best quality [people], not only increasing numbers. We are seeking people with a strong technical background as well as academic.”

In an effort to ensure these recruits are held to a higher standard, applicants to the police force are now undergoing screening processes that include ID checks as well as psychological evaluations and polygraph tests using the most current technology available. Thirty-four new recruits this year have completed the first half of their syllabus and are now assisting in crime-fighting efforts, and the recruiting process is still ongoing. Forty-five members are expected to begin the policing program later this year, which will include technical skills development as well as management training. Recruits will be vetted in areas such as financial and oversight investigating, use of polygraphs, border protection and security, forensic analysis and psychiatric training. This effort is necessary when dealing with the increase in awareness technology can bring. An example of this necessity comes with the CCTV operation, as those operating the cameras will deal with sensitive information.

“The ongoing work within the first phase of our CCTV project is [more than] 60 percent complete,” Queeley said. “There are approximately 180 cameras in place across communities in St. Kitts. The police force is continuing its recruiting efforts in CCTV operators. Applicants must undergo interviews and extensive security vetting.”

As part of its record-keeping efforts, the police force is currently undergoing an upgrade in the computer software available to the officers. Crime management software expected to be fully commissioned by October will provide officers with the ability to access more information than ever before, according to Queeley. Ten new generators are being established at police stations within the federation, which will help keep the stations humming and this technology running.

Finally, Queeley announced that the SKN police force now possesses drones in order to give officers on the ground aid and support when it is needed.

“These [drones] will support search and rescue efforts and will also be an asset for monitoring large events such as the recent CPL event,” Queeley said.