By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
COMMISSIONER Anthony Ferguson’s 2019 policing plan was tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday featuring among other things a reliance on technology to prevent and reduce crime.
Although the plan utilises much of the same strategies from years past, it proposes to use a broad multifaceted approach to disrupt and end acts of violence wherever they occur.
To do this, the police force is planning to focus on crime hotspots, repeat offenders and collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and the community to strengthen crime prevention.
Organised criminal groups involved in drugs, illegal weapons fraud and other criminal activities will also be targeted by police.
Commissioner Ferguson also plans to heighten police visibility through ongoing patrols in Over-the-Hill communities and strengthen activities that discourage corruption.
This effort will be supported by the optimisation of technology, the plan said.
Body worn cameras and a policy for them will also be created and the same will be done for the Shot Spotter technology that was unveiled recently.
The police also say a real-time crime centre will be constructed. However, no timeline was given for this technological arm.
Closed circuit television will also be utilised and expanded in high crime areas, the plan said.
Additionally, drones are to be used in certain areas.
The plan also says that police will ensure DNA laboratory capabilities are expanded.
An online reporting site or an application for non-emergency offences is also to be developed.
The plan seeks to ensure much of the success achieved by the force in 2018 is repeated in 2019.
These included a 25 percent reduction in murder, an 18 percent decline in the number of reported armed robberies, a 19 percent reduction of attempted robberies and a six percent decrease in robberies.
Last year also saw a 23 percent reduction in shop-breaking and 20 percent reduction in stealing, in addition to a 19 percent reduction in stolen vehicles.
There was also a 16 percent reduction and six percent reduction in crimes against people and property respectively.
Overall, the plan said there was an eight percent reduction in overall crimes when compared to 2017.
The police further clamped down on other offences.
There were 285 illegal firearms seized and 6,254 rounds of ammunition confiscated. Additionally, 8,439 marijuana plants were uprooted, 10,292 pounds of marijuana seized and 183 pounds of cocaine confiscated.
Authorities further recorded 492,631 answered 911/919 calls and 32,185 non-emergency calls were answered.
The commissioner’s policing plan places further focus on public and road safety.
Noting that traffic fatalities increased by 28 percent in 2018, officers will be deployed at strategic check points and problematic locations at peak times, it was noted. CCTV will also be used to ensure order on the street among motorists.
Speed detection technology and increased use of speed guns are also planned for 2019.
Police also want to collaborate with driving schools and increase speaking engagements on road safety in schools and other public forums.
Also, to ensure compliance the plan wants to deploy adequate police resources to all public events in order to prevent and control incidents of disorder or criminal activity.
This priority further suggests there will be a clampdown on night clubs and bars to ensure there remains compliance with the terms of their licences.
The police will also be working along with the Business Licence Unit to ensure the law is followed.