LETTER OF THE DAY - No time for complacency in fight against crime
The Editor, Sir:
Crime is an untamed beast which continues to wreak havoc on our society. Besides the obvious trauma and unrest experienced from the actions of criminals, it is also an excess burden on the pockets of taxpayers.
Business and homeowners have to invest in security systems to protect their assets and their lives; more police patrols are necessary in volatile communities; prosecutions of criminals, which are oftentimes lengthy and costly, must be carried out; prisons must be maintained to house criminals; and funding to sustain the viability of initiatives such as the Citizen Security and Justice Programme and the touted Unite for Change campaign all burden the already staggering taxpaying public.
That is why it is welcome news that serious and violent crimes were down by 16 per cent during 2014, as reported in statistics by National Security Minister Peter Bunting.
While the collective approach of effective policing, civil groups and the Church, together with the contribution of concerned citizens in reporting crimes have played a role in attaining this modest but recognisable success, a reported murder figure of 1,005 is still out of control for a population of under three million.
It is imperative to stop the scourge of organised crime in order to pursue our national interests of security and prosperity, and that is why we should embrace the proposed merger of the Organised Crime Investigations Division, the Flying Squad and the Transnational Crime and Narcotics Division.
The combined harsh realities of socio-economic problems, weak mechanisms for conducting investigations, escalating government expenses and lack of necessary manpower, and monetary resources are structural issues requiring fundamental changes in our approach to crime-fighting, and clearly the desired results are not being achieved because of these enduring challenges.
It is feasible to merge these three units of the force because of the advantage of synergy which will enable enhanced skill sets, performance and cost efficiency in rooting out organised crime. Such a fundamental change is poised to bear fruitful results, provided that there is consistently strong leadership.
This is not the time for stakeholders to become complacent over a modest decline in the numbers where serious crimes are concerned. We must continue to be vigilant and do what is necessary to fight crime in the interest of our national development.
Law-enforcement personnel must also craft more innovative ways to outsmart criminals and further reduce crime to acceptable and manageable levels.
There is much to be done and we should continue to work together and make the solution the problem for criminals.