Governor Richards says a number of law enforcement initiatives underway to improve Police Force

Governor and Local Chief of Police Franklyn Richards says that a number of initiatives are currently underway to improve the Police Force and reflect on the core work of fighting and preventing crime. 

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A phased plan is being worked on to increase the number of positions within the Police Force from 205 to 384.

There are also ongoing consultations with Dutch Police experts to transform the law enforcement body into a more professional institution for country St. Maarten. Within short five police experts will be made available to strengthen the force.

Local Chief of Police Governor Franklyn Richards says that policing should be driven by core values and guiding principles which would be more effective than one guided solely by rules and regulations.

"Our Police Force has to continue to employ a diverse and effective set of crime fighting strategies to accomplish the mission of keeping our communities safe. Innovative policing has resulted in the apprehension of murderous criminals during the past months.

"With the various strategies already being implemented, additional support and resources can only further enhance the war on crime," Governor Richards pointed out.

The Police are expected to play a more meaningful role in neighbourhoods. The upgrading of skills of the motor brigade is being explored to enhance visibility and to be able to respond and access areas quickly during an emergency – quick response teams.

Various educational projects have been established for supervisory and top management positions within the force. Specialization in areas of criminal investigation and forensics are part of those training programs.

The Police Biker Patrol Team established in August 2009, has been able to make a valuable contribution to public order and safety for residents and visitors.

The new Police Holding Cell Complex is expected to be completed in April and the expectation is that the detention centre for undocumented persons will be ready by the end of 2010. This facility will be able to accommodate 40 male and 20 female detainees.

In order to improve intelligence gathering, an information post was established in September 2009. The pool of police vehicles have been considerably improved with a second batch of new vehicles expected some time this year.

The new pool will comprise of eight transport busses, 12 motorcycles and five cars.

A communication plan is being drafted to improve internal and external information dissemination.

"The Police Force finds itself at a crucial juncture. I express deep appreciation to the personnel and management of the Police Force who notwithstanding the challenging times and the lack of resources, have upheld the basic tenets to protect and serve their community.

"At this time I would like to recognize the contributions being made by, among others, community councils, the Crime Task Force and concerned citizens offering tangible solutions to deal with the crime situation on the island.

"The business sector has to continue to be pro-active by taking preventive measures. Fighting crime is, after all, a community effort, and everybody has a role to play," Governor Richards told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Tuesday.