Overall there has been a reduction in crime by eight percent in 2018, when compared to the 2017 statistics, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson revealed Tuesday, January 8, during a joint press briefing with members of the press in New Providence, Grand Bahama and other Family Islands.
While the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) is indeed pleased with the reduction, thanking both members of the force and the public at large for working in tandem to come to such a conclusion, Ferguson stated that they are still not completely satisfied with the crime statistics to date.
“While we welcome the reductions in crime, we are not satisfied with the current level of crime in our country. We will not be complacent, however, but will strive to further reduce the level and fear of crime in The Bahamas,” said Ferguson.
The chief of police added that as trends and the dynamic and complex nature of crimes have truly evolved over the years, it is incumbent upon the RBPF to address crime as they are mandated to do by the Police Force Act 2009.
“The security of one’s country is paramount for its citizens and all those who visit. So, it is important for effective law enforcement to be focused in the carriage of its mandate.
“Last year the Royal Bahamas Police Force conducted an analysis of the crime situation in our country and determined that adjustments to our approach to policing were necessary, so we immediately placed a workable plan into action.
“Recognizing the shortage of operational manpower on the streets, we partnered with our colleagues from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and formed a strong operational team, to move about and attack the criminal element from all angles. The offensive tactics have yielded many arrests.
“We also expanded our intelligence and in collaboration with our international partners have strategically conducted a number of focused intelligence-driven operations comprising of major land, sea and air assaults targeting the criminal element in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and surrounding areas that yielded positive results,” said Ferguson.
“We have paid particular attention to crime hotspots throughout the country with intent of rooting out criminal elements, as we believe that it is in these hotspots that persons assemble and plan their criminal attacks on society.
“I am happy to report that the preliminary figures indicate an eight percent decrease in crimes across the entire Bahamas when compared to 2017.”
Ferguson expressed that the public being forthcoming with information is indeed paramount for the success of combating crime in the nation, therefore he noted that a number of initiatives will be put in place to allow for even more interaction between members of the RBPF and members of the public to assist in keeping the incidents of crime lowered for 2019 as well.
“During 2018, our relationship with the community, particularly our young people strengthened. You saw one of the largest gathering and support for the police when we hosted Police Month in March. This, I believe, confirmed the support for the police and our plan to rid this country of crime and criminals.
“The Summer Youth Programme, which has been in operation for over 20 years, is one of our nation’s largest activity for youths under the age of 16 years with 26 Camps throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Our numbers almost tripled with approximately 4,500 youngsters who successfully participated in the programme.
“Our support from the community was amplified with the creation of 85 neighbourhood watch groups. The groups are important partnerships in combating crime,” noted Ferguson.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we recognized the importance of interaction with members of the public by all levels of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Therefore, I have determined it necessary in 2019 to designate three, what we will call ‘Police-Public Interaction Days’ where every policing division within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will partner with the various community leaders such as the Christian Council and the neighbourhood watch groups in their respective communities, from the Commissioner of Police down, will spend two hours interacting with the Bahamian people,” announced Ferguson.
He noted that the Police-Public Interaction Days will be carried out simultaneously throughout New Providence and the Family Islands. “We realize that there are some persons who will not get an opportunity to meet with the top brass of the Police Force so we will be coming to you.
“Ladies and gentlemen, in accordance with Section 9 of the Police Act 2009 my Policing Plan for 2019 is near completion and will be submitted to the Minister of National Security (Marvin Dames) to be tabled in Parliament before release. Once that process is completed, my Policing Plan will be made available to all of you and members of the public.
“I will tell you though, that there will be no major changes in my 2019 Policy Plan as my 2018 Policing Plan is still relevant. It works and it is yielding desired results and more, so I am pleased to continue with it,” said Ferguson.
Moving forward in the new year, Ferguson informed that the public can rest assured that police prevalence will be widely recognized throughout the Commonwealth to ensure a safer Bahamas overall, with an overall objective of ‘Creating safer communities.’
“We will continue to build on effective management strategies, professionalizing the service, optimizing the use of technology, interacting with at risk youth, improving road safety and the continued prevention and reduction of crime.
“This year we plan to be more productive and more aggressive in the carriage of our policing mandate.
“With the recent new addition of officers and the deployment of new vehicles, you can expect to see a higher number of officers moving about on the streets to promote a level of security and to send clear messages to criminal elements that no longer will they be allowed to disrupt our communities and there will be no hiding place for them. In other words, they will feel the presence of the police and we will keep them running!
“We will focus on crime hotspots and problematic night spots and aggressive enforcement of the traffic laws. We will be strong on the streets to prevent the movement of criminals from one division to another. We will also continue working with our colleagues in the overall protection of our borders.”
He admonished the public to assist in upholding the law and report and all crimes they may be privy to, noting that they can of course remain anonymous when reporting such.
“So, I encourage persons who know anyone involved in a crime to report it and to always be mindful of the company you keep and aware of the people that are around you.
“As I conclude, there were some challenges in 2018, but with the help of the Almighty God, my hardworking and dedicated officers and staff members, our law enforcement colleagues, in particular, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, our international and local partners and the public, the Royal Bahamas Police Force was able to put a notable dent in crime, in most categories,” said the nation’s top cop.
Additionally, Ferguson gave thanks and praise to the Almighty God for His guidance and protection during 2018. He also thanked the media and public at large for their support in 2018.
“I want to also thank you, the press, for your support and cooperation in spreading our messages to the public throughout 2018. To the Public, thank you for your continued support to your Police Force. To our local and international partners, thank you and to every single employee of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who showed up to work every day and gave their best, thank you.
“We look forward to 2019 with great anticipation as we endeavor to execute our mandate with courage, integrity and loyalty. So, I invite you to partner with us as we create safer communities throughout the length and breadth of The Bahamas.
“God bless you and God bless The Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” said Ferguson.