Over the past 22-odd months, residents of St. Kitts and Nevis have witnessed an upsurge in crime, especially gun-related, in the twin-island Federation and this growing phenomenon has aroused the interest of all and sundry.
Crime can be considered an act committed in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it and for which punishment is imposed upon conviction. However, there are many crimes that have gone undetected and also the perpetrators gone unpunished.
There are various forms of crime and a more sophisticated one is called ‘White Collar Crime’. This type of crime occurs in every country of the world but, at this juncture, I shall only deal with the common form of crime that currently plagues the Federation.
Crime has no face and law-abiding residents should openly show their appreciation for members of the Police and Defence Forces in their sustained joint efforts to rid the Federation of this ugly and harmful menace to society.
Over the past week, many residents seized the opportunity to voice their opinions on locally aired programmes in connection to joint operations conducted by police officers and soldiers.
Unfortunately, while many of them were in agreement with the Snap Roadblock Exercise (Stop and Search) some people openly voiced their disapproval.
Snap Roadblock or Stop and Search operation is the way to go. It provides the security force personnel the element of surprise; a principle in which its employ resulted in the success of many hard fought battles during times of war and also the unearthing of large arms cache as well as illegal drugs in many countries.
According to police statistics, 27 cases of shooting with intent and 16 murders were reportedly committed in the Federation over the period under review. These figures are too gross for a nation with so small a population.
The Minister of National Security and the Police High Command have repeatedly called on and literally begged citizens to assist the law enforcement agencies in combating crime, yet some people are disgruntled over the strategy recently employed in its reduction.
One man claimed that he was never involved in any criminal activity and the police had no right to stop and search him and his vehicle. This individual and many others like him must stop behaving like an ostrich and take their heads out of the sand. Crime has no face and no one is above the law. In the US, during that country’s intensification of security against terrorist activities and threats, security personnel strip-searched a senator and he did not show any displeasure; for he realised the need for such an exercise and, despite his office, he knew that he was not above the law.
However, if it were that members of the security forces were uncouth in their approach to citizens during Stop and Search Operations, then it is incumbent on the High Command to ensure this behaviour ceases forthwith.
The proper conduct is as follows:- “Good afternoon sir/madam, we, the members of the security forces are conducting a stop and search exercise and will like you to display your driver’s license, insurance and fitness registration. We also will like you to exit the vehicle but please accompany us during a search of it,” or similar words.
The officers must also courteously thank the person for their kind co-operation on completion of the search.
This is the time for all of us to co-operate with the law enforcement agencies. It is a time for us to be aware of the danger that looms over us. It is the time for us to be conscious of what the criminal elements among our youth are capable of doing, because we know not who will be next and one of those warheads may have our name written on it.
The police have recently notified us of their intention in the intensification of the Stop and Search Exercises, therefore, The Observer reiterates the call for the public’s co-operation.
However, I will like to leave you with this question – “ARE YOU FIGHTING FOR CRIME OR ARE YOU FIGHTING AGAINST CRIME?”