In the first five days of going online, 978 applications for the Police Certificate of Character were processed, of which 436 certificates were issued.
Of that number, 242 applications, representing a 122 per cent increase, were received on March 2, when the system went live for the first time.
Minister in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, Senator Kay McConney, said these figures also compared with 120 applications received in a day under the old system.
She highlighted these figures as she addressed the official launch of the online process for applying for a Police Certificate of Character at the Prince Cave Hall, District “A” Police Station, this morning.
“That is a 60 per cent increase in terms of efficiency. Barbados is on the move to digital transformation, and the journey that Barbados is on is one that puts people at the centre; where we make it easier for people to do business with Government in every area, as well as make it more efficient for public officers, including police officers, to do their work,” she said.
Senator McConney said that the technology would relieve officers to do “higher value work” that required human relationships and person to person intervention to fight crime, protect communities and serve justice.
“It can improve efficiency and speed, and it can reduce transaction costs to all,” she stated.
And, the Minister has urged the high command of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to explore the world of policing technology, presently available and emerging on the market.
She told those present that just as lawmen built trust in communities and with their stakeholders, they will also be required to build digital trust as the digital age progressed.
“As Barbados moves forward, I encourage our police force to consider how to further move technology from the administrative backrooms to frontline operations, in a way that integrates human intelligence to do several things; to ease the work of the officers and to better utilize their time and training; to facilitate investigations before and after an offence; to report and responsibly record evidence; and to better serve the various publics without compromising security, integrity and accountability,” Senator McConney pointed out.
Noting that her Ministry also provided support for the digitization of over 66,000 criminal records, Ms. McConney commended the RBPF for continuing to keep them up-to-date and accurate, for the issuing of the Police Certificate of Character.
However, she admitted that the online system was still in its early stages and would need to be tweaked along the way, as they received feedback from the public to make it more user-friendly.
“Some persons who are barely literate are asking for more pictures; some people who are overseas are asking for a new place where they can put their overseas address as well. There are a number of other tweaks that we are set to bring over the next month or so, as we finally make this the kind of system that we will all be proud of,” the Senator said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Erwin Boyce, noted that the Police Certificate of Character being online was a new business model for the RBPF, but gave the assurance that it was prepared to ensure the project produced the results that were envisioned.