Government’s investment in police force’s forensic capabilities continues in 2018
From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Since assuming office in 2015, the Team Unity government has made significant financial investments in the human resource development and technological advancement of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police, particularly as it relates to upgrading the force’s forensic capabilities.
Such investments include the sourcing of an Olympus SZX16 comparison microscope that has since been used to link several of the firearms recovered by law enforcement officers to homicides committed in the federation, training for local officers in operational forensic ballistics, the roll out of Phase One of the Cities and Roadways Surveillance System CCTV Project, as well as the hiring of Narace Ramnarine, a former law enforcement officer of 26 years in Trinidad and Tobago, as the head of the force’s Forensic Unit.
This substantial injection of resources into the law enforcement efforts in the country has led to significant decreases in major crimes in the federation in 2017 when compared to 2016. Preliminary statistics revealed by the police force indicate that there were decreases in the number of murder and manslaughter offences in 2017 from 31 in 2016 to 23 in 2017, representing a 26 percent decline.
In 2018, the police force’s crime fighting efforts will be boosted even further through the addition of a state-of-the-art forensics lab located on the compound of the Tabernacle Police Station.
“We are now building out our forensic capacity and we are having a lab that is being built,” Commissioner of Police Ian Queeley stated during a press conference held at the Police Training School Jan. 17. “Work has commenced on that…and that lab would be equipped with the type of equipment that would help us to even bring more life to the investigations because we [will be able to] go back and [investigate] cold cases.”
A record 47 illegal firearms were removed from the streets of St. Kitts and Nevis in 2017, of which 38 resulted in people being held accountable. “Every firearm that is taken off the streets, be it involved in a case or otherwise, is properly analyzed, and so that ballistic analysis helps us to know whether or not that firearm was in fact linked to any other firearm offences that have been committed in the federation,” said Commissioner Queeley. “That analysis also provides for us intelligence on the type and frequency of the firearms that are used in various criminal acts.”
The Team Unity administration allocated EC$75.5 million to the Ministry of National Security for the 2018 fiscal year, which represents the largest budgetary support ever made toward the crime fighting efforts in St. Kitts and Nevis. This investment will go toward upgrading the coastguard facilities, improved facilities for police and fire officers, as well as the commencement of phase 2 of the CCTV programme.