Commissioner of Police, Hilroy Brandy.

Commissioner of Police, Hilroy Brandy, highlighted a 48 percent reduction in homicides and a 28 percent overall reduction of crime in 2019 during the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force’s (RSCNPF’s) New Year’s Celebration Service Thursday at the NEMA Headquarters

Additionally, he said 47 guns have been removed from the streets to date and he noted the seizure of 136 kilos of cocaine, which is considered one of the largest drug busts in the history of the Federation. He also cited the success of community policing efforts and noted the efforts of the Force’s social partners.

“Our mobile fleet was significantly upgraded with the donation of 12 police cars and we got the resources we needed to begin the second phase of the CCTV project,” he said.

In 2019, for the first time, districts ‘A’ and ‘B’ were able to come together to host an awards ceremony for police officers. 2019 also saw the launch of the Crime Management System in collaboration with USAID and the UNDP. Additionally, said the commissioner, the RSCNPF was able to send officers to the Bahamas during its time of need following the passage of Hurricane Dorian and to respond to Dominica’s request for additional support during the country’s general elections.

The commissioner also noted promotional activities over the past year, which are integral to the force.

“We have seen tremendous growth on our social media platforms. People are hearing more about us and what we are doing,” he said. “In 2019, for the first time, our radio programme ‘Policing With You’ began airing on ZIZ Television, not once, but twice per week. I must express how pleased I am with the structure of the programme, the wide variety of guests and topics, as well as the increase in participation by callers. The feedback for ‘Policing With You’ has been quite positive and has come from various levels.”

Commissioner Brandy applauded the officers for their dedication and professionalism during the s carnival and Christmas season, saying they did an outstanding job.

2020: Three pillars of policing

The police force will double its efforts in crime fighting in 2020 by implementing three pillars of policing — community policing, intelligence-led policing and predictive policing — Commissioner Brandy said.

“As it relates to community policing, it is vital that we establish a respectable rapport with community members,” he said. “Our relationship with the public must be so close that they understand how we feel and what we do, and we, in turn, understand how they feel and what they want for themselves and their communities.”

The commissioner saidthe RSCNPF will continue to embrace the four E’s of community policing — Enforcement, Engagement, Education and Engineering.

“Therefore, the following must be continued or initiated: Educating the public about crime prevention using traditional and social media; continuing to engage with persons where they live; we must also be involved in and become members of community-based groups; speaking with young people and assisting youth groups with their community projects; re-introduce the Police Boys Scouts and; enhance the School Liaison Officer Programme to encourage positive activities after school, in the evening and on weekends,” he explained.

Commissioner Brandy said “residents are more likely to have a favourable view of the Force, thereby improving their trust and providing more accurate and timely information on criminal activities” with effective community policing, leading to the second goal of Intelligence-led policing.

“Intelligence-led policing dictates that we ought to continue establishing a database of known criminals, gang members and their associates,” he said. “It also emphasizes the need to continue the CCTV Project Expanded Surveillance Programme to include the use of drones. Similarly, digital geographical mapping of the Federation is an essential ingredient to this goal and should be implemented. What is critical, however, is the use of current statistical data analysis to monitor changing trends and patterns so that we can adapt to suite.”

That combination will lead to Predictive Policing, Commissioner Brandy explained.

“In our line of work, critical thinking, sound analytical skills and the ability to think ahead are key ingredients to achieving our goals,” he said. “It not only aids in quelling possible criminal activity, but it allows for us, as law enforcers, to evade possible danger. While we remain concerned about the public’s safety, which is undoubtedly our mandate, we must also be cognizant of our own threats.”

In-house training will be utilized by senior police officers to effectively implement the three pillars, he said.