Today the Belize Police Department unveiled its National Crime Fighting Strategy in order to combat the escalating crime situation in Belize. Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie spoke about the plan.
Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“There are four salient goals. Our priorities are the reduction of murders and gang violence in Belize City and across the country, prevention, interdiction and successful prosecution of criminals and the restoration of public confidence. Our priorities will be achieved through the following; to reduce gun-related crime, target and dismantle criminal gangs through legislative reforms, through the strengthening of the professional standards branch and the implementation of a systematic video surveillance program for Belize City.
Goal number one: to reduce gun-related crime and target and dismantle criminal gangs and there’s a number of things the Belize Police Department intends to do under that goal. The first that we will do is the department will establish and the anti-gang task force that will be charged for the specific gang-related crime with a view to having these cases brought before the court.”
The other goals include legislative reforms which will give the police more authority, strengthening of the Professional Standards Branch, including seeing a code of ethics circulated for its officers and implementing a systematic video surveillance programme for Belize City, which has already been established to a certain level. Minister Elodio Aragon Jr. was present at the unveiling and commended the police department for developing a plan to address the crime situation that has been plaguing our society.
Elodio Aragon Jr. – Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Home Affairs
I think it is something that is needed in this country. We all know the problem in terms of the gang and gun-related violence. We all understand that there is a need for legislative reform, we all know that the department needs to have a stronger Professional Standards Branch; a branch that will go up front and direct in dealing with police misconduct and police corruption. We all know we need to incorporate technology into our strategic plan as a police department. These four main areas that will be focused upon, each with their specific goals and objectives speaks on the kind of work that the Police Department needs to engage itself in if we are to make an impact on crime in this country. When we look at the reduction of gun-related crime and gang-related crime, there’s a number of key areas that will be focused on. First and foremost the establishment of the anti-gang task force. That in itself is a big step towards addressing the crime situation, focusing on those people who we know in our communities that are actively engaged in criminal activities and gang-related gun violence. We need to go after these people. In terms of the anti-gang task force that will be focused squarely on these individuals in our communities and we hope that by having a proper investigative team we’ll be able to do the job in having better success in prosecution and thus be able to take some of these people off our streets and to ensure a greater sense of tranquility and safety for our citizens.
Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security, Retired Colonel George Lovell, also embraced the crime strategy plan.
George Lovell – CEO Ministry of National Security
“The Belize Police Department, National Crime Fighting Strategy has been prepared by the department and presented to the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is a strategy that we do support when it was thought about over two years ago. The plan for us, was not just to have a strategy that the department knows of but for the entire nation to be aware of and then to hold the Ministry and the Department accountable for things that they plan to achieve and so the strategy will be placed out on the website, it will be there for public knowledge and for you the public, after a year or two to then come back and use that to judge us as to the inroads that we have had in terms of the success or otherwise as it relates to this strategy.”
Within the next ninety days, the public will see the plan rolled out. The plan spans a two year period, from 2018 to 2020.