The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force is to kick-start its witness protection programme as part of its three-year Strategic Crime Plan, which also includes a litany of what the force hopes will become crime-reducing measures.
Unveiling the plan at the force’s new headquarters along Airport Road in Providenciales Wednesday, May 19, Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting explained that the plan has been crafted with five key objectives in mind, which he said together, is aimed at not only reducing crime but also the fear of crime.
The development of the witness protection programme would be done in year one, according to the commissioner. He said also that the strategic plan would also include building investigation capacity, review crime recording, better understand the fear of crime, to develop capacity of the Tactical Unit and to enhance intelligence capability and capacity.
“Under this object, we are talking about developing a witness protection programme. We are building our serious crime capacity. We will review the way we record crime, to make sure we are consistent…from year to year.
“One of our real challenges is to understand the fear of crime. We need to understand what makes people feel unsafe in their communities…and it can be a whole range of things…from lighting, from the way houses are done, from antisocial behavior by young people. So, understanding the fear of crime is important as the crime statistics,” Commissioner Botting said.
He explained that capacity within the Tactical Unit would be augmented so as to better able to track down and apprehend serious criminals.
“Much work is being done in enhancing our intelligence function…our capability…our capacity to use intelligence to go after those that need much going after. So, there is lots of work going on around how we tackle crime,” the commissioner further explained.
Assistant Commissioner Kenny Grant, according to the commissioner, has already developed the Community Policing Plan, which he said would be rolled out later this year. Commissioner Botting said the plan would centre around stronger relationships with the various communities across the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“We want to enhance our community policing, and we have already started delivering training to our staff. Community policing in itself is a specialty, it’s not a soft touch. We have some extraordinarily good officers that are already engaged around community policing. And we need to invest in them to make them the best that there will be,” he said.
Pointing out that a great part of policing is to protect the country’s borders from local and transnational crime, Commissioner Botting stated that irregular migration is a top priority and a national security strategy for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
“There are some work ongoing to review the way we protect our border. It was spoken about by the previous government and this government, and governor and myself. We are looking at how best and how we can corral our assets in protecting the border,” the commissioner continued.
Among other things, the initiative would be to implement the agreed recommendations of the Border Protection Review. The strategy, according to the commissioner, is to be implemented in year one. The other measures would be to support the immigration control strategy and to reestablish the Grand Turk Marine Branch, which are also slated to be done in the first the first year.
Commissioner Botting revealed that the building to house the marine branch for Grand Turk was currently under preparation.
He said collaboration with international partners would be strengthened under the initiative.
“The other thing you may have noticed (is) our international partners becoming far more visible in the TCI. So, we are partnering with the whole range of them from Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, DEA, OPBAT, and we are developing some strong relationships with our partners, who are now looking forward to deploying assets in the TCI in support of the work we are doing in protecting the border,” he further noted.
Commissioner Botting described the three-year goals for the force as very ambitious, and to this end, if they were to be achieved, heavy investment would have to be made in the men and women of the force.