Minister of National Security John Saldivar today announced a number of new crime fighting measures. The announcement came at the Prime Minister’s second business forum.
Hon. John Saldivar
Minister of National Security
“The Police Commissioner will be invoking today for the first time since the law was passed, the declaration of several crime infested areas of Belize City as crime ridden areas which will give his police and BDF the power to search any and all houses in the area without the need for a warrant. This declaration will also allow the police and the BDF to restrict movement in and out of these areas. These areas will be cordoned off and every person entering and exiting the area will by stopped and searched and a systematic house to house, house by house of these areas will be done with immediate effect. The Police and the BDF have, for several weeks now, been conducting special operations in the City on weekends. These operations, in our opinion, have been successful in stemming the regular weekend spate that used to full the Monday night newscasts; however, the criminals have adapted and shifted their activities to weekdays and even broad daylight. We therefore are very quickly adapting and as of yesterday, the weekend operations of the Police and BDF have now become an everyday, seven days a week operation. Patrols which used to be stepped up on the weekends are now stepped up on a daily basis. Six ATVs with Police and BDF are now deployed on a daily basis; special patrols, foot patrols are now in place also on a daily basis; vehicle checkpoints are once again being strategically placed across the City to intercept and disrupt criminals; special intelligence officers who are familiar with these criminals are being placed at these checkpoints with lists of names and pictures of persons of interest, every person in whom we have an interest will be detained and held for questioning as often and as long as it takes for the Police to conduct proper investigations into the many unsolved crimes that are under investigation. As a matter of fact, our usual Christmas special duties are being stepped up as of today. I think most of us will agree that when the Police is employed in special operations during special activities we always seem to have great successes; we will therefore extend the Christmas special work program to start effective today. This will result in over 25% increase in the amount of BDF and Police we have in the streets. As of today, the Police are under instructions to begin to crack down on all those who commit petty offences and quality of life crimes. Discipline begins with the small things and it is perhaps because of our neglect of small crimes that we now have a crisis with big crimes. As of today, the Director of Public Prosecutions to petition the court for the imposition of stiffer conditions for bail and even the denial of bail for repeat offenders. I am making a public call to the magistrates and judges to use their discretion afforded to them by law to impose stiffer penalties on persistent criminals, to impose stiffer conditions for bail and to even begin denying bail to the habitual criminals. With regards to the habitual criminals especially juvenile habitual criminals, I am happy to report the Ministry of National Security has received the go ahead of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, to establish a corrective training facility where we intend to house convicted habitual juvenile criminals for a period of corrective training and discipline. More on this proposal will be released shortly; however I can indicate from the outset that this facility will be located in the Pine Ridge area, it will be administered by the BDF personnel and the schedule of crimes, which once a conviction is secured will attract sentencing to this facility and will include misdemeanors and petty crimes that will be easily prosecuted for a conviction.”
Saldivar said the three weakest areas in the Police Department are intelligence gathering, investigation and prosecution. The added measures will cost the Department an additional 100 thousand dollars weekly.<< Read other news