In its relentless effort to tackle serious crimes in the country, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force has developed a three-year crime-fighting strategic plan, which it believes could make a further dent in criminality.
At a news conference at the RTCIF Headquarters along the Airport Road on Wednesday, May 19, Commissioner Trevor Botting, said the plan would include drone technology and a much more robust communication system.
He indicated that there has been much successes as it relates to crime-fighting in the Turks and Caicos Islands, but conceded that the force has much more to do in terms of curtailing serious crimes.
He said while overall crime figures have seen a reduction, serious crimes remain a concern. He said between April 2019 to March 2020, 2,107 crimes were reported.
Trevor Botting, Commissioner of Police
He said between April 2020 and March 2021, 158 crimes were reported, a drop of 527 or a 25 percent reduction.
He also stated that Providenciales has seen a 24 percent drop, while Grand Turk has seen its overall crime level plummeting by 36 percent.
Commissioner Botting said from April 2020 to March 2021, murders have increased by 2, reflecting an 11 percent rise. Over the period under review, a total of 18 murders were committed, while 20 murders were committed over the Period 2020/2021. He said Turks and Caicos Islands capped 2020 with 23 murders. He said two murders have been committed since 2021.
The commissioner revealed that aggravated burglary has seen a 47 percent reduction in 2020/2021 - 30 fewer than the year before. He said firearm offences have seen a 37 percent reduction (83). He said though that robberies has seen a 14 percent increase, with a total of 158 of such offences committed over the period. He said crime detection was 16 percent.
He said over the period 2020/2021, there were 312 reported cases of serious crimes. In 2019/2020, there were 56 fewer cases. He said while crime over the last four years has dropped a whopping 30 percent, serious crime has not.
“Serious crime has become the measure for RTCF in terms of the progress that they are making, since it is causing most harm and most fear within the community,” Botting said.
He said the Washington Misick administration has affirmed its commitment to working closely with the police, to reduce criminality at all levels. He said in order for crime to further plummet, it would have to take additional endeavors to that of crime-fighting, such as social and other initiatives.
“Policing itself will not tackle long term serious crime. We need to talk around schools, we need to talk around diversion programmes for young people. We need to talk about help for those with addiction. So there is a how heap of measures needed to be done to make the TCI a safe and secure place,” Botting suggested.
He noted that though the year under review was a tough one for policing, much was achieved.
“Nonetheless, the force has made serious inroads in criminality in the islands. 2019/2020 was a very challenging year for us. But we are very committed. We have a very steady leadership team. We are improving as a force,” he assured, noting that the figures only tell part of the commitment picture of the men and women of the force.
“I want to acknowledge the hard work of the staff of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, over the last 18 months. The last 18 months was a period of extraordinary demand on the force in terms of serious crimes and being in the front line during the pandemic.
“The officers of the force have been nothing short of heroic in the way that they reacted in keeping their communities safe 24 hours a day, every day across the TCI, on land and at sea, to protect our communities and our borders, and territorial waters.” He said.