PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – With robberies having become more frequent on St. Maarten, the Law Enforcement Council has investigated the approach used by law enforcement to curb the number of these crime incidents.
With the aforementioned in mind, the council has made a total of eight recommendations pertaining to the Police Force of St. Maarten and/or the public prosecutor’s office. The recommendations are contained in a report recently submitted by the council’s chairman, Franklyn Richards to the minister of justice of St. Maarten, Richard Gibson Sr.
Due to its high impact nature, robberies are prioritized in the investigation phase. Prioritization means that all robberies have to be investigated. For this, the Police Force has set up a special team, now known as the Special Robberies Unit. The Council concludes that what was intended with the prioritization of robberies is not feasible, with the present situation. The Council therefore encourages the police and the public prosecutor’s office to carry out more control over the current prioritization process.
The council further notes that despite great efforts made, the results of the approach used to combating robberies are a matter of alarm. This is of concern to the council, as in first place it relates to essential conditions that are necessary, in practice.
Seven recommendations made to the justice minister concern the Police Force and are aimed at aiding the specific approach used to combat robberies.
Three of those recommendations address the lack of basic resources, such as computer hard drives, laptops, official police cars, capacity and analysts.
The current approach used by the Special Robberies Unit needs to be evaluated while it is additionally recommended to review how this approach can be improved.
The council considers it important for the Police Force to introduce a better registration system of robberies reported, in order to obtain further understanding of the nature and extent of the crime. This while keeping these files updated, all the time. The council is moreover of the opinion that training needs to be available to those members of the Special Robberies Unit, which have not been able to follow a specific course.
Keeping in mind that prevention is better than cure, the methodology used to combat robberies not only needs a repressive approach but also a preventive one, notes the council.
Particularly where the participation of the business sector is concerned, St. Maarten still has to make considerable strides, taking into consideration that prevention requires a combined approach. It should be one where government along with the business sector and the community of St. Maarten closely work together and in which everyone assumes their responsibilities.
Pursuant to the Kingdom Act on the Law Enforcement Council, the Minister of Justice will be given the opportunity to send the relevant advices of the Council to Parliament within six weeks, along with his policy response.
The report will be available for downloading at www.raadrechtshandhaving.com, after six weeks.