Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has committed to visit each district, precinct and police formation across the country. Today he visited the rural areas in the Belize District. Williams told us that hearing from the officers who work in the specific areas are important to devising and implementing proper strategy that will be tailored to each environment.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “After I was appointed Commissioner I embarked on a tour of the country visiting the different Police Stations as well as to dialogue with the Police and let them know what is the way forward in terms of what our crime fighting strategies are going to be. You would know that we have announced earlier that we would be focusing on reducing crime this year. There are three pillars on which we are focusing on to reduce the murders and those pillars are: The gang issue, domestic violence as well as those issues that imminate from night clubs and so part of my tour is to explain to the officers what these pillars are? And what is expected of them? To be able to ensure that the objectives of the new crime fighting strategy is achieved and as well as to hear their concerns and to see what we can be able to do to make the work environment better for them.”
Jose Sanchez: “For today what different precincts are you visiting?”
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “Today I am only doing Belize District Rural and I am expected to leave the country tomorrow so I am doing the rural now. I am going to return next week and I will be doing the western part of the country.”
Jose Sanchez: “What are the concerns of the Belize Districts Rural areas in relation to the city or are they one and the same?”
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “Well basically you find that here in the rural the officers seem to be very energized, they are happy and I think one of the issues they had was the issue of the eight and twelve hour shift system. What I have explained to them and I have shown them what the benefits are in terms of moving from the twelve to eight so you will find that they are more receptive to it. One of the issue they have now is the fact that they are saying that when they come off work at eleven that there is no transportation running so we will see what we can do with working with some bus company to be able to provide that late run for them and then it will be at their cost. At the end of the day as I have said before it is not the obligation of the Government to provide transportation for us Police officers. We are getting a housing allowance to accomodate us to be able to work so when officers decide to rent outside of where they work it is their duty to find their way to work whenever the time comes for them to go to work.”
Jose Sanchez: “And in relation to the crime fighting strategy in an area like Ladyville where there is still gang issues. Is anything being done differently in that area and areas like Hattieville? for example.”
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “Well the fact of the close proximity to Belize City we have to be able to focus a lot on gang issues because we do find that members from the different gangs of Belize City are moving into rural Belize District and to some extent they are creating some degree of difficulty to policing so yes they have to ensure that they monitor these young men coming out of Belize City as well as to know the different gang groups so that when they are in their area they can know exactly who they are and what they need to be able to do to contain them from committing crime from within that area.”
”After visiting the Ladyville Police Formation, Williams moved onto visiting the Queen Street Police Station where the holding cells were being refurbished due to human rights issues.