Police training is paramount, says Top Cop

ANNUAL CRIME REPORT – Senior police officials in Grand Bahama, along with media personnel and members of the clergy gathered in the conference room of the Gerald Bartlett Police Complex Tuesday (January 8) morning, joining their counterparts in New Providence for the annual crime report and statistics, presented by the Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson and his executive team. (PHOTO: SHAYNE STUBBS)

With a combined partnership with the public, local and international counterparts and extensive training for members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Commissioner of Police (COP) Anthony Ferguson expressed this past Tuesday (January 8) that particular emphasis has and will continue to take precedence in the fight against crime in the country.

During the press briefing on the 2018 crime stats, Ferguson noted, “it is clear that criminals have no friends when they set out to commit acts of crime, like the shooting death and robbery of Police Inspector Carlis Blatch in broad daylight. They are determined to disrupt public safety, but with a collective effort from the citizens of The Bahamas we were able to see some reduction in crime within our communities.”

Inspector Blatch, aide-de-camp to Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, was gunned down on September 12, in the presence of his young daughter, in broad daylight, as they waited outside HO Nash Junior High School for his son to be dismissed from school. The murder appeared to be the tragic end result of an attempted armed robbery.

“The operations and training of all areas of the Force, working together in support of my anti-crime strategy and my Policing Plan were deliberate and impacted the reduction in overall murders and other serious crimes.

“Members of the press, we recognize that training is paramount to the success of any organization; therefore, we are in the process of transforming the Police Training College into the premier Law Enforcement Training Institution in the region,” he added.

In 2018, a total of 1,213 persons were trained locally – 794 police officers, 134 Police Recruits, 41 Customs Officers, 12 Immigration Officers, nine Correctional Officers, four Marines, nine Security Officers and 210 civilians from the Neighbourhood Watch Council.

“In addition to police officers being trained locally, there were 136 officers that were trained internationally in the United States, Europe, Canada, South America and the Caribbean,” disclosed the COP.

“As we continue to improve and expand our human resources, we are doing the same for our infrastructure. During the month of March, we reopened the Police Canteen in New Providence. In July, we reopened the Police Fitness Centre at the Police Training College. In September, we opened a state of the art fire station at the Albert J. Miller Complex in Grand Bahama and we completed the Tactical and Aerobic Fitness Center at the Police Training College, New Providence.”

In addition to extensive training efforts for members of law enforcement, Ferguson noted that public partnership is also crucial in the fight against crime, hence the establishment of such initiatives as the ‘Police –Public Interaction Days.’

“We recognize that members of the police force come from the community, and so therefore, you have to be able to interact with the people that you come from. If you interact with the people that you come from, then the people will be more inclined to tell you things and get used to you. The encouragement is, as Sir Robert Peel said, ‘The police are the public and the public are the police.’ That should be encouraged in all aspects of the community and that is why public partnership with the police is very, very important.”

“The Family Islands are generally peaceful communities and that is something that we would like to see here (New Providence). We have hard working officers and they are working in conjunction with the community and so therefore if you are involved in a crime, family island people will turn you in. They will not hide you … that is what I want to encourage Nassau people to do,” said Ferguson.

He noted that the key elements for this year’s Policing Plan continue to remain prevention, protection, apprehension and preservation of the peace.

“I do believe that Bahamians ought to be able to move throughout the length and breadth of this Bahama land without someone running up on them and pulling (out) a gun. We have also prevented persons from reaching The Bahamas with shipment of firearms,” added Ferguson.

He noted that many of the seizures have been successful due to their partnership with both international and local counterparts. “We will continue to do those things and that is reflected in my 2019 Policing Plan,” said Ferguson.

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