The new government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell is planning to spend millions of dollars to upgrade the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
In its manifesto for the just-ended general elections in Grenada, Dr. Mitchell’s New National Party (NNP) gave an undertaking to improve the benefits given to police officers and other security personnel.
The ruling party also assured police officers that they can expect more scholarships and training opportunities in Management, ICT, Forensics and other critical areas of policing.
Speculation is rife that large sections of the police force voted for the NNP and not the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of former Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas in the February 19 general elections.
This newspaper has been reliable informed that some police officers used their cellphones to take pictures of the ballot they cast in favour of Dr. Mitchell and his NNP which won all fifteen seats in the national poll.
The Mitchell government also committed itself in the 66-page NNP manifesto to strengthening “our aerial surveillance programme” and to set up Closed Circuit TVs in certain hot spots in the country.
A high-level police officer when quizzed by this newspaper said the island had been engaged in some discussions with Israel and neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago with assistance in an aerial surveillance project to assist with border controls and for improvements in crime detention.
The source was also asked to comment on a commitment given by the NNP in its manifesto to “upgrade the Forensic Lab facilities and capacity of RGPG in order “to meet internationally accepted standards.
He said that there is no such facility existing within the Police Force but that Commissioner Willan Thompson had started talks with officials of St. George’s University (SGU) to help with the setting up of a Forensic Lab.
He added that Commissioner Thompson had also engaged his counterpart in Barbados to assist the local force with setting up Closed Circuit TV’s between the Town of St. George and the south of the island to monitor the hot spot areas in order to curb criminal activities.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces in full the NNP position on its plans to “OVERHAUL THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHITECTURE” of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
There will be a review of the national security apparatus of our country. It is acknowledged that our way of life as Grenadians and the quality of life are affected by the acts of criminal elements that have unlimited resources.
Our approach in this area will include:
*Management Audit and Strategic Needs Assessment of the National Security Apparatus having regard to the threats, risks and responses which our country will need to address;
*Development of a more responsive, modern and relevant National Security Apparatus and security arrangements for Grenada, which will ensure that our jurisdiction of land and sea remain among the safest in the world;
*Negotiations with International Partners to use best practice and to secure financing of the National Security Action Plan.
UNIFIED SECURITY FORCE
The Strategic Development plan will also examine a number of key issues being raised in the security community including:
*Merging the Coast Guard and SSU into a unified National Security Force;
*Determining the best strategic location for situating the key elements of our national security apparatus;
*Determining the best institutional fit for the critical capabilities required to address cybercrimes;
*Integrating elements of the law enforcement under one overall command to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
There are a few “early harvests” that can be brought to bear on the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) including:
LAW ENFORCEMENT REFORMS
*Modernising legislation and regulations governing the RGPF including a reform of the criminal justice system;
*Repairing the existing Police Stations across the country and identifying sites and infrastructure for new Police Stations;
*Improving the benefits package of police officers and other security personnel;
*Increasing the scholarships and training opportunities for all police officers, in management, ICT, forensics, and other areas critical to the efficiency of the Police Force;
*Providing modern communication facilities, audio and video surveillance, monitoring equipment radios and recording devices for police officers.
The strategy to improve the safety of our citizens will require the NNP to:
*Dedicate greater resources to study and understand crime patterns and behavioural issues linked to crime and criminality, and develop a comprehensive crime database;
* Seek out greater international support to partner with local law enforcement in the spheres of technical assistance, training, modern equipment and grant programmes
STRENGTHENING FORENSIC LABORATORY
*Upgrade the Forensic Lab Facilities and capacity to meet internationally accepted standards;
*Make budgetary allocation for training and continuing professional development in forensic sciences.
*Implement a National Video Surveillance System. We will set up Closed Circuit TVs in hot spots which will be linked to various command centres;
*Strengthen our aerial surveillance programme for better border control and for crime detection;
*Make our streets safer with streetlights, increased street policing and better means of mobility.