Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin has given assurances that the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is now fully equipped to deal with any tragedy that strikes the island during the hurricane season.
Speaking to reporters at his first press conference since assuming the position two weeks ago, Acting Commissioner Martin said that the force is now in a better state of readiness for a hurricane season than what occurred during the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell was forced to remove a number of persons in the High Command including then Commissioner of Police, Fitzroy Bedeau for poor performance during Ivan.
According to COP Martin, the RGPF strategy for Hurricanes in particular has changed and evolved significantly.
He said that from the start of every year since Ivan, the police force will embark on a series of activities to make sure that its officers are ready for the task at hand.
“Between January and February there is inspection of the state of readiness of all stations and departments across the force and that state of readiness is not only equipment but also a procedural enquiry as to where the station is…”, he told reporters.
“Following that, there is a table top exercise that we do for Commanders to exercise the passage of a Hurricane and see what decisions they will make”, he said.
Acting Commissioner Martin went on: “We have now conducted that so regularly that we are now drilling down three four levels below the Commander in carrying out those exercise. Following that, we also do a simulation exercise where we invite other stakeholders to participate with us. In the last one we had NaDMA and Health, also participating to ensure that the force has a formidable readiness.”
According to Martin, the police force is now experiencing an evolution of that plan with the involvement of key stakeholders.
“I will just state briefly that our plan has evolved to the point that if a disaster is likely to impact Grenada, almost 60% of the force is forward deployed – either in safe houses and what we consider to be forward deployment locations on the ground in areas where we consider there could be a likely security threat so that after a blow you do not have to move from police stations and departments, you are already on the critical areas where you are required on the ground.
“We have done that successfully through partnership with a number of stakeholders and private businesses. So, there is a comprehensive disaster planning and implementation mechanism that the force now has in place.
The COP warned elements who might be thinking of breaking the law in times of disaster to be on their guard as mechanisms are in place to handle any eventuality.
Martin said he intends to brief the public on what the mechanisms are so that they can be better informed of what is in place as well as to help deter those who may have intentions to engage in activities that are inconsistent with law and order.