Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has expressed confidence that measures being adopted against crime will bring desired results.
Chastanet spoke during a New Year’s address to the nation Sunday night.
“While we have not achieved the kind of success we would all want, we know that the effort we are making will begin to pay off,” he stated.
“We remain committed to the multi-pronged strategy to significantly reduce crime,” the PM explained.
“We cannot and will not deny that the crime situation continues to affect us deeply. We feel it every time a young person loses their life through violence. It not only impacts their families but we also lose what they may have contributed to the development of our society,” Chastanet observed.
“We cannot look at the crime situation without doing serious reflection about the way we lead our daily lives, raise our children, our interactions, the way we resolve conflict and how impulsive we may be to react or get retribution,” he stated.
“We must continuously work on this as a society, even as the Government implements measures to help prevent, detect and solve crime,” the PM told the nation.
He disclosed that internally, results are being measured on a weekly basis.
According to Chastanet the government has already embarked on a number of measures.
He mentioned empowering and modernizing the police force with communications equipment and vehicles including motorcycles; having 95 CCTV camera feeds in strategic areas and in 2020, mounting 525 additional camera feeds from Castries to Gros Islet, to Vieux Fort.
The PM also stated that the government has recruited over 80 new officers with targeted patrols already resulting in a drop in assaults and re-opened the Forensic lab.
“We started with 12 city police and are now up to 42. We restored the operations of our coastguard vessels and radar system which had been dysfunctional. The Director of Public Prosecutions has received increased resources for his office. We facilitated the strengthening of the judiciary with more magistrates and judges,” he recalled.
“And despite attempts to derail plans to build a new Police Headquarters, we will move forward with the new structure at the old prison site in the first quarter of 2019,” Chastanet noted.
He observed that simultaneously, work is being undertaken towards tackling crime at its root with social programmes such as Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) which focuses on mitigating risk factors that trigger criminal and anti-social behaviours.
“There will be a special emphasis on young men, vulnerable groups, especially children, at-risk-youth and women in target communities. We also have after-school programmes intended to keep our kids meaningfully engaged. In 2019, we increased the number of social workers and revised our incarceration and rehabilitation policies as part of the crime fighting strategy,” he said.
Chastanet said that in the next few weeks, an announcement will be made about impending changes intended to accelerate measures to bring crime under control and to strengthen the police force.