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No compromise

The Barbados Police Force will not compromise on the issue of trafficking in human beings or crimes against persons.

This strong assurance today came from Assistant Commissioner of Police with Responsibility for Crime Mark Thompson, as

he addressed the 34th Annual Crime Stoppers International Conference. Speaking to a large audience of law enforcement, tourism, regional and international dignitaries, the executive officer noted that trafficking in human beings and crimes against children, along with intellectual property crimes, trafficking in illicit goods and corruption, and financial crimes, as well as financial terrorism were common areas of challenge across law enforcement agencies. This conference, he therefore said, was supported by the Royal Barbados Police Force because it provided the opportunity to harness the powers of partnerships with residential, governmental, civil and corporate entities in innovative ways and at different levels.

While acknowledging that the listed crimes were of concern to the force, Thompson said: “In this regard we cannot compromise on the issue of trafficking in human beings and crimes against persons because these crimes, whatever their form represent the most brutal denial of basic human rights and rob the most vulnerable in society of their personhood and their human dignity. Consequently, no society built on the principle of respect for human rights, fairness, equality and justice would tolerate such crimes. “The RBPF subscribes to this philosophy. The fact that it has formed a specialised unit to investigate trafficking in human beings evidences that it is committed to a vigorous prevention, protection, prosecution and punishment regime.”

He pointed to the arrests and charging of three people this year for offences under the Transnational Organised Crime Prevention And Control Act 2011, stressing that, “However, the stark reality is that any sustained effective action to prevent and combat trafficking in persons and crimes against children require a comprehensive international approach in the countries of origin, transit and destination. In other words, the prevention, protection, prosecution and punishment cannot be achieved without a fifth p, namely partnerships.”

Since crime management is a developmental issue, Thompson noted that this was one of the reasons the force paired continuous assessment of current strategies, with the development of new and innovative ones to manage threats to growth. Corruption, financial crimes and financing terrorism, trafficking in illicit goods and intellectual crimes, he added, were examples of threats being faced.

“All of these crimes have the potential to destabilise governments and collapse economies. Consistent with this issue, the RBPF formed a special cybercrime unit, a specialised financial crimes investigation unit and a copyright unit to address these issues.”

Speaking to an issue that had been reported by Barbados TODAY, where the Government had been denied information on the accounts of citizens who are subscribers to Facebook, Thompson stated: “Recently in pursuit of a number of investigations, the cybercrime unit made a request to Facebook, occurrences that were carried by the media. The financial crimes investigation unit, has also been relatively active. The management of the theft of people’s creative imagination or ideas, which the law of intellectual property seeks to protect, has proven extremely difficult to manage.

“One of the main reasons for this difficulty is that the owners of the rights often reside outside the jurisdiction. This shows that partnership creation and strengthening is a necessary precondition to successfully manage this type of transnational organised crime.” He added that the Police Force had recognised that excluding the public from its own attempts at managing crime were not working, he stated that there was obviously an “inherent value” in partnerships. “Thankfully, more mature consideration have led policing executives to the understanding that the police do not on their own have the resources to deal with the underlying causes of social decay or crime. “A burning concession that most policing executives have made is that information from civil society is indispensable to preventing and solving crime. Additionally, they have come to the realisation that there is a need for a facility or mechanism where persons can give the information without having to reveal their identity. It is within this context, that the full value of crime stoppers international is appreciated. “In fact, as an executive officer responsible for crime management, I can affirm that there have been a number of positives since Crime Stoppers launched its local chapter in Barbados.” (LB)

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