Police Minister says strategic plan being developed

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Updated: February 1, 2017

Last year Belize saw an increase in gun related violence. That trend continued into the New Year and when he appeared on Love FM’s morning show earlier this week, Minister of State, with responsibility for the Police Department, Elodio Aragon Junior said they are developing a strategic plan to combat crime.

Elodio Aragon Jr. – Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs

“I believe that we really have to begin to focus on the problem at hand and when I mean problem at hand, yes we have the Gang Suppression Unit out there dealing with the gangs but I think there is a need for us to basically look at the problem for what it is and look at ways we can deal with the issues at hand. In no way I am talking about solving the crime problem because crime will always be here but what we need to do is address it so that we reduce the crime level to an acceptable amount for Belizeans. And I do think that is our focus for now and this crime strategy that we are working on is a crime strategy focused on the problem. It’s a problem oriented issue that we have on the two areas that I have spoken of. In dealing with gangs and gun related violence that we are experiencing and those two go hand in hand so we have to address these two issues and this is the focus that I want the Police Department to focus on at the same time, carry out all their responsibilities that they have in terms of crime prevention, better police patrols, quicker police response time, looking at improving their investigation, persecutions etc. But I do think that the problem we have must be addressed and it has to be addressed with specific achievable results, achievable goals and objectives. I have tasked the Ministry of Police, of Home Affairs and also I’ve tasked the Commissioner of Police to prepare and look at what we need to do with this issue.”

Aragon said it is his hope that the national strategic plan would be unveiled to the public by the end of this month. Aragon also spoke of the ongoing efforts to engage the public.

Elodio Aragon Jr. – Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs

“The Police Department can only do so much in terms of community policing. That is an ongoing task that they have to do because there is no other department out there in terms of law enforcement and national security that deals with the public more so than the police department whether you are at a check point, whether you are patrolling the streets and you have to talk, you have to interact with the community and I do think that is a large part of what we do and I think that is how the people view us likewise. I do think there is room for improvement without a doubt. I do think they do a lot, I think Love FM and a lot of media houses have highlighted the meet and greets that we have had. I think just over the weekend Howell Gillett was in Belmopan doing his meet and greet, Belize City does a lot of that. To talk to the public, listen to their concerns, what are the issues in their area etc and that has to be ongoing, not only at the meet and greet but also at the check points, how we talk to people, because at the end of the day we want people to follow and abide by the laws of this country and that is the most important thing and I do think that the police for a large extent does its job. We have the Community Policing Unit of the Police Department that does its amount of work in terms of working with the youths at risk etc. I know we work closely with Restore Belize, Youth For The Future and others but I do think that there’s room for improvement and I do think that other non-government organizations and government agencies, ministries that have to do with youths and sports etcetera have to do their part likewise.”