Governor Richards expresses grave concern, says crime wave has to end;

Admonishes members of the community for threatening police investigators

Governor and Local Chief of Police Franklyn Richards has expressed grave concern with regards to the crime situation on the island, and is of the opinion that the crime wave has to end. 

online casino

The Local Chief of Police also admonishes residents and passer-by’s for not alerting the Police to the burning of several stolen vehicles in bushes in Dutch Quarter over the weekend as well as persons verbally threatening Police officers while they were carrying out their investigation in the area.

"The Police are reliant on community assistance in the fight against crime. A person not alerting the Police to two vehicles on fire in the bushes is a derelict of civic duty and responsibility towards society. Evidence was probably destroyed in the fire.

"Threatening Police officers while they carry out their crime scene investigation is also not acceptable behaviour coming from what we assume were law abiding citizens. These actions do not overshadow the contributions that have been made to law enforcement on the island, and I continue to encourage law abiding citizens to help the Police because it’s a community effort in fighting crime," Governor Richards observed.

Richards says that he will be looking into additional law enforcement measures that can be implemented as a consequence of the recent increase in crime. These measures would include extended and far-reaching authority to the police and the prosecutor’s office.

Some of the measures that could be implemented are the closure of businesses, offices or homes that violate public order; the temporary detention of a person or groups of persons who ignore specific law and order rules; when there is a serious indication of wrongdoing in a certain neighbourhood; police searching vehicles and persons as well as instructing drivers to open enclosed packages.

Governor Richards added that the additional measures should not have the semblance of becoming a police state. "The Police are legally obliged to take all reasonable steps to protect people and property where there is a real and immediate risk to them from the acts of another.

"The most recent event and a point of grave concern is the incident involving shots being fired from a school bus transporting students. Incidents involving the loss of life are to be condemned and cannot be tolerated under any circumstance.

"Several robberies of homes and businesses are also a matter of great concern. An integral approach is needed to combating crime considering the situation is made more complicated because of the island’s geographical location and open borders," Governor Richards told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Monday.

Governor Richards says combating crime is not only a task for Police and the Justice system, but also for parents, schools, the church, social institutions, the business sector and the average citizen.

"As we prepare to become a country, aspects of security become our collective responsibility. Government is also ultimately called upon to dedicate the necessary attention to fighting crime. An example of this is adequate street lighting which still has to become a reality in some areas," Governor Richards Local Chief of Police pointed out.

At the initiative of the Local Chief of Police, the Safety Plan St. Maarten was developed in 2007. The plans listed a number of recommendations to contribute to a safer community.

One of the recommendations is the development of a qualitatively and quantitatively strong (criminal) justice and law enforcement system and this is one of the key areas of constitutional renewal and a priority for Country St. Maarten.