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Crime Falls – Despite Cops’ Cars Crisis

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

OVERALL crime is down 14 percent, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said yesterday, adding Bahamians can rest assured criminal activity in the country will continue at reduced levels, lessening fear among citizens.

He said the reduction accounts for crimes against the person and property.

The minister said this was achieved despite an audit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s fleet of vehicles finding only 126 cars of 538 operable. Of the remaining 412, he said 273 vehicles were inoperable and 139 experienced chronic repairs. The majority of the fleet, he said, was used in New Providence, thereby exposing the Family Islands to vulnerable and substandard police performance.

The electronic ankle monitoring system also offered very little help in the fight against crime, Mr Dames revealed, telling parliamentarians in some instances criminals who were being monitored removed the device and placed it on their pets to evade police and commit crimes. In other situations, he said, offenders disabled the monitoring bracelet.

And while most of the challenges with the RBPF’s Closed Circuit Television have now been resolved, Mr Dames said the former Christie administration spent $659,981 to purchase and install the analytics system, but no one sought to follow-up as to why it was never installed.

The video analytics software was to perform real-time analysis of video stream, identify and generate alerts for a variety of user defined events relating to people, and monitor vehicles and static objects. However, the Bahamian vendor stated the US vendor has closed its operations and was unable to provide the necessary support for the software.

In addition, a manpower audit of the RBPF, now complete, identified an oversaturation within the senior ranks, a lack of transparent and suitable protocols during the last two promotional exercises, the lack of a strategic recruitment and professional development plan to increase productivity.

The force also lacked proper collection and use of statistical data to better inform crime fighting initiatives, the audit found.

Policing plan

Faced with these challenges, Mr Dames said the government is prepared to rebrand the police force and infuse the organisation with civilians into specialised areas of law enforcement.

It is also the RBPF’s intention to recruit 100 additional officers. This process, the minister said, will not be driven by politics, sexism or nepotism.

He said: “Unlike our predecessors, who interfered incessantly in the recruitment process of the RBPF, our government has committed itself to be different. The recruitment process will not be driven by politics, sexism or nepotism. Unlike years past, 21st century candidates will have to meet a higher standard for eligibility and will have to successfully complete a battery of tests to be considered.

“These tests will include physical fitness assessment, medical examination, mental health screening, drug testing, written assessment and other vetting criterion.

“To build a RBPF that is capable of dealing with the complexities of the 21st century, it is imperative that the agency place value on the educational achievements, physical fitness and socialisation skills when making hiring decisions.”

He also tabled the commissioner’s policing plan for 2018, which comes three months into the New Year.

The plan was not saturated with details, but listed six priorities of the RBPF.

These included crime prevention and reduction, public and road safety, interaction with youth and young adults, optimisation of technology, professionalisation of services and effective management.

The commissioner plans to focus on crime hotspots and repeat offenders, disrupt organised crime groups involved in drugs, firearms fraud and other relation criminal activity, increased police patrols and pay special attention to at risk youth.

Using technology, the RBPF is expected to expand the CCTV programme in other high crime areas, expand the DNA laboratory and continue testing body cameras among other things.

Comments

sheeprunner12 1 year, 3 months ago

Soooooo, we buy these fancy cars for $70,000 .......... and they just break them up at this rate????? Do they service or check them daily or weekly like other commercial vehicles or planes etc.??????? Is there a RBPF car maintenance and auto body division?????? What are they doing?????

This is frigging unacceptable!!!!!!!

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joeblow 1 year, 3 months ago

But the good news (if you like to spin stats) is the crime rate decreases with the number of police cars! Lets give them bicycles instead :)

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DDK 1 year, 3 months ago

Face it. Our Governments like to shop like there's no tomorrow. They don't give a flying fig about maintenance, preventive maintenance or preserving our assets. Why should they? The People pay for everything and when they need more money they just raise taxes and we say O.K.and re-elect them. Perhaps if there were clauses like no GDP improvement; no debt reduction; no crime reduction; no improvement in utility service, health care, education, employment, roads; no handle on immigration - NO PENSION, NO ELIGIBILITY FOR RE-ELECTION TO PARLIAMENT, perhaps then and only then will we see improvement.

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TigerB 1 year, 3 months ago

Those fellas just got new cars under Perry dem, the PLP buy plenty of police cars, no one but the police fault. Here in Grand Bahama they still have some of those old Crown Victoria's, the blue ones. Those officers know when they break up the cars they will get more, just the Nassau set. There may be 3 or 4 of the Ford Taurus here.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 3 months ago

Dames you blame the PLP for the Police cars that are out of service. Now that is a stretch. how many became out of service since May 2017?

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