TACKLING crime remains the top priority for the Royal Bahamas Police Force this year, according to their 2012 manifesto released last night.

While the new mandate is admittedly similar to last year's plan, two new priorities have been added: Enforcing the rules of the road; and professionalizing service.

The plan has retained many of the 2011 initiatives and also represents feedback from police officers and the wider public, according to the Commissioner's foreword.

A key 2011 initiative that will be upheld is "Operation Rapid Strike", which led to the recovery of 541 illegal weapons and 11,880 rounds of illegal ammunition.

Commissioner of Police Greenslade is expected to present the plan today, along with an overview of last year's crime statistics and successes. However, the plan was made accessible from the RBPF's website last night.

Among the objectives listed under the first priority, "Tackling Crime", was the mandate to increase the number of officers assigned to specialised crime units. The objective was second to the recruitment and deployment of "frontline" police officers. The force also plans to increase the strength of the Firearms Tracing and Investigations Unit.

Priority number four, "Enforcing The Rules of The Road", was said to be a response to complaints related to the lawlessness of road users.

"We have also noted the blatant disregard for traffic signals, road signs, and traffic laws, and general rules and regulations intended to facilitate road safety," the plan stated.

"Added to this level of lawlessness is an emerging propensity for road rage and disputes arising from a lack of courtesy among road users."

Objectives include targeting unlicensed drivers, underage drivers and consenting vehicle owners, driving under the influence, heavy vehicle operators with unsecured loads, and illegal roadside garages.

Under priority five, "professionalising service", accountability measures will be implemented to ensure compliance with policies and procedures.

"We have heard far too many complaints from members of the public relative to unethical and unprofessional behaviour by police officers," the plan stated. "We understand the untold damage that this can do to the reputation and credibility of the Force. We also understand that this can also severely erode public confidence in the police force."

It added: "Without the confidence and support of the public, members of the Force cannot be effective in the discharge of their duties."

Cosmetic changes to the plan: Priority one has been changed from "reducing serious crimes" to "tackling crime; priority two, "enhancing public safety" to "improving community safety"; priority three, "positive youth engagement" was unchanged; priority four, "enforcing the rules of the road" replaced "protecting our borders", which was moved to priority five; and "professionalising service" is listed as priority six.

The plan can be found at www.royalbahamaspolice.org.


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