Attorney General, Dale Marshall, in discussion with (from left to right) Commissioner of Police, Richard Boyce; and Deputy Commissioners of Police, Ian Branch and Erwin Boyce, following the opening ceremony of the Barbados Police Service’s two-day Annual Grand Conference 2022, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Wednesday. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Steps are being taken to address the tenure and pension entitlements for special constables.

This disclosure has come from Attorney General Dale Marshall, who said Cabinet had approved the amendment to the legislation, which would shortly go before Parliament.

He made the comments on Wednesday as he addressed the Barbados Police Service’s two-day Annual Grand Conference 2022, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, under the theme Building Resilience through Innovation, Collaboration and Post Pandemic Recovery.

Mr. Marshall said he was pleased at the overall reduction in crime, including in firearm-enabled murders, which he described as a “stubborn problem”.  He added that the suppression of firearm crime had been identified as a priority in the Barbados Police Service’s crime plan.

He continued: “The Government has treated this as a priority….  We have also been guided by ongoing research into the possible causes of this type of offending, and in our search for solutions, it became evident that we could not just focus on law enforcement issues…. 

“On the demand side, we have recognised the urgent need to work with those communities that are victims, as well as demand drivers for illicit firearms. These interventions will, as a consequence, need to go beyond efforts by the Police Service, and must include a whole of Government approach, to protect and promote community empowerment and community ownership of the interventions that are required.”

Mr. Marshall disclosed that concrete steps had been taken, and highlighted that a programme had started under the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment to install lights across more playing fields and create mini-stadia at several locations.

“I do not think I have to tell you what a positive impact sporting activity can have on the young people in our communities.  We have also expanded our drive through the Mitigation Unit to support our vulnerable families by providing a stipend of $600.00 per month to those families, to help to keep them out of the clutches of the criminal element.

“Government can never countenance the activities of those persons who are involved in the illicit importation and distribution of firearms, and who are the sponsors of the violence associated with this activity. I again warn that they can expect the strong attention and action of the Barbados Police Service and other enforcement agencies. Let me reiterate on this occasion Government’s resolve in dealing with this matter,” he said.

The Attorney General also urged the police officers to examine the issue of human trafficking and gender-based violence during the conference.

“International agencies assess that, in relation to Barbados, human trafficking is not investigated with the vigour that such an odious crime deserves.  There is also the view that human trafficking is a problem that relates more to irregular migration than anything else.  Nonetheless, it is a matter that deserves a focused attention from your Sex Crimes Unit,” he stated, as he thanked the division for its work thus far.

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