Dottin: All-out effort on crime
Crimes involving the use of firearms and street crimes are a headache for the Royal Barbados Police Force.
And Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin said the force was using all its resources to control the problem.
Speaking to the Sunday Sun, the Commissioner said several raids in problem-plagued communities in recent weeks had led to the recovery of seven fireams, and because of the disquiet firearm crimes had been causing in the communities, people had welcomed police efforts to restore confidence and peace in those communities.
Dottin defended the police approach to the raids, referring to an earlier Press conference in which he had advised “it was not going to be about force, although we have to carry out some very vigorous type of policing in some areas”.
But, he insisted, “There is a type of hardcore criminality that has to be broken in some of the neigbourhoods.”
However, he made it clear it was going to be “a diferent type of intervention”.
Dottin argued the challenge for the police was to break the ties between young men and the use of firearms, noting that much of the “behaviour” was “linked to the distribution of drugs”.
Questioned about the source of the firearms coming into the island, he responded: “Just as drugs are imported into Barbados, it follows as night follows day that we will get some of our firearms coming in as part of that trade.”
He said the regional experience was that some guns came from the United States and from South America, passing through “legitimate ports of entry” as well as through “wide-open coastlines”.
However, Dottin maintained detection in Barbados had improved with better surveillance at the Bridgetown Port since container scanners had been installed there, and police investigative measures had continued to be refined.
Also, the operation of a dedicated anti-gun unit in the force responsible for enforcement had helped, he said.
Though statistics for the first two months of the year showed a decrease in overall crime, the top lawman was also concerned that robberies involving cellphones and jewellery topped the list.
According to the Commissioner, because these two were “the hot items”, the police force was trying to regulate the local cash-for-gold trade “because we feel that is driving a lot of the robberies in Barbados” .
He has therefore been holding meetings with people engaged in the trade discussing regulatory measures.