On Friday January 15th, 2016 the RSLPF hosted its first police press conference for 2016 to reveal crime and traffic statistics for the past year and also to draw comparisons with 2013 and 2014. The conference was moderated by Acting Police Commissioner Errol Alexander. Also present were Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Anastasias Mason responsible for Territorial Policing, Dorian O’Brien, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Minister responsible for Operations, Milton Desir responsible for Crime, Intelligence and Prosecution, DCP Monchery, second in charge of the organization and acting ACP Crucita Pelius who is responsible for Corperate Services and Professional Standards.
Alexander highlighted that while the members of the executive – ‘everyone around the table’ as he put it – are ‘acting’, he said that “moving forward, it’s one of my Christmas wishes that they would have some sort of confirmation done on behalf of members, to improve the level of confidence coming in from persons on the executive.” On the subject of disciplinary matters Alexander had this to say: “We have our own internal court which deals with disciplinary matters, with two facets to it; our own personal side is that we have an adjudicator who acts as a magistrate, we have a presenter who acts as a prosecutor, and this is proper structure in the RSLPF that helps disciplinary matters against police officers.
“For 2015, 86 matters were heard ranging from absent without leave to incurring debt. Out of these 86 matters, 35 police officers were convicted, 27 of these matters were withdrawn, and 24 of these matters were dismissed.” According to Alexander 2015 was a rather “unfortunate time” for the RSLPF with six police officers arrested and suspended for matters ranging from conspiracy to stealing by means of employment. With regard to crime statistics, there was an overall decrease in reported crimes for 2015 although the detection rate remained at 52%. Firearm offences decreased in 2015 and so did the number of homicides. Homicides and murders recorded have been on a constant decline, with the lowest figures since 2007 being presented in 2015. The island recorded 29 homicides in 2015 compared to 34 the previous year.
The town of Castries was the area that experienced the highest number of murders which were mainly committed by young males against other young males, according to police. The prime weapons used were firearms and sharp objects. Notwithstanding this, there was an overall decrease in firearm offences by 38% in 2015 compared to 2014. Sexual offences saw a general decrease in 2015. However, rape offences escalated by 11 cases. The detection rate decreased by 11% for sexual offences.
Robbery offences increased from 2013 to 2015 with last year recording an 18% increase when compared to 2014. Offences against Property saw an overall reduction, while burglary, stealing from person and unlawful damage recorded the highest number of cases. There were, however, reductions in figures in terms of reports, in comparison to 2014. Burglary remains the highest recorded offence within the category of Offences against Property.
While the drug category recorded a decrease in the number of drug-related reports, an increase was seen in the detection rate. Possession of cannabis and intent to supply remain the highest recorded drug offences to date. In summary, 17,463 offences were recorded by the RSLPF for the period of 2013-2015 with an overall decrease in reported crimes of 2,591, or 13%, in 2015 compared to 2014, and of 1,316 when compared to 2013. Detection rates for 2014 and 2015 were comparable, recording a rate of 52%, and slightly decreased in 2013 which recorded 49%.
The distribution of major categories of crime for 2015 reflects that Crimes against the Person, Offences against Property and Summary Offences recorded the highest number of reported cases, with these three categories accounting for over 94% of the total crimes recorded throughout the island. Overall, an examination of reported crimes for the period 2013-2015 revealed decreases in every major crime category with the exception of drug-related offences.