1 Commissioner of Police Mr. Richard Boyce

CHRISTMAS 2023 MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER OF POLICE: RICHARD BOYCE

CHRISTMAS 2023 MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER OF POLICE: RICHARD BOYCE

1 Commissioner of Police Mr. Richard Boyce

Season’s Greetings. Policing public safety and the provision of police services generally was once describe by a commentator, as a Sisyphean task. Of course, he was using as a metaphor, the story from Greek mythology, involving the character Sisyphus. As punishment for some misdeed, Sisyphus was forced to roll a very large boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down every time it neared the top. And this happened repeatedly.

This is useful to illustrate that policing is an ongoing activity that seeks always to meet ongoing challenges and that there is no room to rest on past accomplishments. This is especially relevant to vibrant developing countries such as ours.

While this metaphor is useful, it omits to mention of the service element, which is also an essential element in policing public safety. These issues converge at this time of the year, the Christmas season. Coming as it does towards the end of the year, the season provides an opportunity for review of, and reflection on our work during this year.

There was an appreciable decline in serious crimes, including murder. Our statistics show that the murder rate per capita for this year is 7 per 100,000 as compared to 15 per 100,000 for 2022. This is a significant reduction and the rate for this year compares very favorably with the international standards.  Reductions in other violent crime including firearm enabled events/incidents were also recorded.

We are all aware that the frequency and severity of these categories of crime have over time caused significant public disquiet. It is therefore pleasing to note the reduction of these events.

While a full analysis of these developments is ongoing, we can confidently state that our efforts in the Police Service coupled with public support have contributed significantly. Over the past several months, there have been sustained and targeted operations to address these threats to public safety. These initiatives among other things resulted in the seizure of several illicit firearms. Much more is yet to be done and we remain committed to fight the battle.

I wish to offer my gratitude to officers across the Police Service and to our partners and sister agencies, including the Barbados Defence Force. Special thanks must be extended to the police special units that did most of the heavy lifting.

An issue that has caused us concern is the number of traffic accidents which caused fatalities. To date, there are 17 fatalities as compared to 8 for 2022. This almost matches the number of persons who died from violent crime this year. Coupled with this, is the disorder in public transport, more so in the privately owned element of this service. The lack of discipline is palpable, and it is a massive inconvenience to the travelling public. We in the Service have reviewed our strategies in this area and have concluded that greater enforcement on our part is unlikely to be the only solution. Hence, there is a strong case for greater oversight by the regulatory agencies responsible for licensing these units.

During this year, we continued with our Change Management initiative. This addresses procedures and processes right across the service to improve efficiency and the use of resources and delivery of services to our publics. The programme benefited from a survey and assessment that was carried out by an international external agency and the Service will be guided by its findings.

As part of this programme, significant progress is being made in equipping the service with modern technology such as body worn cameras, in-car videos, close circuit television and electronic notebooks, just to name a few.

I am proud of our continuing engagement with our neighbourhood communities. The signature project is the Prince’s Trust International Team Programme. This is a 12-week development programme for at risk young persons between the ages of 16-25 years. It teaches them life skills and how to build resilience. They are also introduced to a range of tools to enable them to become responsible members of our society. The programme enjoys strong support from charitable organisations and the business community as well as specialists from various disciplines. It has an enviable record in job placements for persons who enter the programme. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all who have contributed to this effort.

As part of our outreach, the band of The Barbados Police Service has continued to stage community concerts. These have been well received.

I wish to thank the public for their support during this year. Please enjoy the season and refrain from behaviours that lead to harm to yourself or others, particularly those who use our roads.

Christmas is a time to spend with family, loved ones and close friends, and for remembering those who are no longer with us.  I pray that the Heavenly Father would continue to strengthen us all in our moments of sorrow.

I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and God’s richest blessings in the New Year. Merry Christmas to all.

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