Power Play between Police Commissioner of Barbados and Deputy remains simmering – Year in Review from Force indicates plans to chase down Assets of Drug Lords

Have no idea if mainstream media will handle the issue so am clearing the air for the interests of all Bajans – the ongoing clash between ACP Bertie Hinds and Commissioner Darwin Dottin remains on ‘simmer‘! You’ll recall last year when Mavado and Vybz Kartel were looking to perform here, the Commissioner was adamant against this kind of concert based on previous case histories including Jamaica who advised against such a venture. As soon as the top cop was on vacation, the deputy suddenly says “No Problem,” to allow the entertainers whose performances have been known to be disruptive – it took the intervention of the Prime Minister on Dottin’s behalf to put Hinds in his place.

APOCRYPHAL (Vybz Kartel's Adidja): Wait boss, Hinds say 'No Problem,' and now you come back from vacation and tell mih Wha'??

Yet nothing further came of that incident, so emboldened, the deputy sought to make a complaint against the top cop – no one is sure if this is related to the connected matter or if there are other details in addition to the open fracas? Yet when the review of 2010 with Crime In Barbados unfolded today at Police Headquarters at Roebuck Street – Bertie Hinds was conspicuously absent!

This led Peter Thorne from CBC to query if there was still disagreement between the two officers and Commissioner Dottin declined to respond, then almost immediately afterwards, Mike King of the Nation asked if the top cop has any plans of announcing a retirement in the near future and again Dottin refused to answer! Usually such declinations are left to die on the vine, but in the interests of all Barbados it needs to be made clear – if there is any dispute of what was said or not then I still have the raw audio from the conference.

A La Sesame Street (sung) - One of the ACP's is not with the others, tell me who before my Song is done?

The Commissioner revealed a number of figures which visibly shocked the journalists present – there were 31 murders for 2010 compared to 19 for 2009, it was the Campus Trendz tragedy which increased the figure. It also needs to be noted while the Commissioner never referred to this, the fact St Lucia an island smaller than Barbados had 48 murders for 2010!

The top cop also stated that Laptops were the preferred item of theft for those committing burglary – 383 in 2009 and 490 in 2010; whereas robbery as in face to face confrontation, usually involved the removal of Blackberries, cash and jewellery from various people. The perpetrators were usually 19 or under and attacking those also of a similar demographic, 21 to 29 – 41% of those caught were repeat offenders.

While a Blackberry is considered a hot item for Theft, many who would lose such a device are more concerned for the numbers and documents stored in such units, which is why a pass-code for the SIM chip is essential!

Commissioner Dottin revealed at the gathering of the force’s intention to not only go after the assets of Drug Lord’s but to forge ties with the ATF: Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms division of USA’s law enforcement in clamping down on illegal narcotics.

Commissioner Dottin reported how only 8 females were caught in Burglary cases for 2010 while there is a 14% rise in Burglaries all told for 2010, which is 1,570 when compared to 1,375 in 2009. 55% of these incidents are involved with repeat offenders.

According to the top cop, 50% of crimes committed in the UK were cellular related and worldwide 16-million units are stolen, and a worrying trend in Barbados is that some clothing stores are accepting Barter for Brand Name – where customers can supply Gold items in exchange for clothes. Mr Dottin sees this as encouraging folk who want to dress well in doing the wrong thing for a new outfit for a fete.

However, with Government’s blessing, Police will use an 1848 law pertaining to the Old Metal Dealers Act, Cap’s 183 & 150which can even entail the participation of the Comptroller of Customs seizing any questionable jewellery.

The Top Cop indicated to the Media that if need be, both relevant sections of the Old Metal dealers' Act will be brought into line with 21st Century discipline but they intend to enforce the original statute to see how this stems any gold-related crimes.

When question time came up, apart from messrs Thorne & King, the bajan Reporter sought to learn if Police will do like the USA and auction off the possessions of druglords so Bajans can have luxury items at reasonable fees while government’s coffers will benefit, the Commissioner hinted he’d prefer if there was such a sale that profits be made to improve the RBPF’s equipment;-

Commissioner Dottin says the funds recouped have even been put towards rehabilitating drug users while other territories may use the proceeds to get new boats and aircraft to improve their crime-fighting but he cannot predict what Government here would decide to do in the end.

In terms of Community policing, I reminded the Commissioner when Dr Chuck Wexler of Boston visited the island during summer of 2010 there was talk of Community Policing and the methods used in America, and the local top cop remembered when the criminologist passed through – however, he says Barbadian constables have their own ways of monitoring the pulse of a neighbourhood;-

He says the RBPF rather than use “Community Policing” performs ‘Community Engagement,’ a method employed by Officers for quite some time now, but he sees the need to review and see where the method could be improved.

In addition, the Commissioner sought to allay any concerns of wire-tapping being used as a means of fighting crime in Barbados – he says before he can actually answer it, he’d have to consult his senior officers and get their views first. Another concern for Dottin is man-power, the RBPF is swamped when it comes to dealing with White Collar crime. He observed it’s all well and good to say Burglary is under control while Embezzling may be spiralling upwards in a steep motion. In a direct corollary, Dottin indicated he would not refuse considering the option of hiring overseas personnel to shore up the lack of staff in the RBPF.

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