Police to step up crime patrols
A recent spate of robberies and violent attacks has forced the island’s law enforcement administrators to take a second look at how they deploy their officers around the country.
Officer in charge of the Bridgetown Division Acting Senior Superintendent Grafton Phillips told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that the Royal Barbados Police Force had decided it will pay greater attention to commercial banks, certain stores, beaches and boardwalks.
Phillips said when the Force embarks on its Yuletide Safety and Security Operation early next week, increased police presence will also be evident around retail stores and supermarkets.
“We will be looking at the Massy Stores in Warrens, those businesses in Black Rock, commercial banks, Sky Mall and the area of the former Standards [in Haggatt Hall] where Shopsmart has put up a store,” he said.
“We are concerned about the number of robberies with violence and will increase police presence in those areas of high business activity.
“In some areas, police leave will be suspended and we will also be using [police] office staff and staff from headquarters to supplement the numbers required to cover the island,” Phillips added.
He said that Bridgetown would get significant attention as the commercial hub of the country.
The divisional commander also disclosed that the Force would be preparing for an anticipated increase in visitor arrivals to the island this month and next month.
The business community itself has given notice that it is also stepping up its preparedness to deal with the issue of safety and security that normally accompanies the Christmas season.
But Senior Vice President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Eddie Abed told Barbados TODAY the corporate sector had several concerns.
“The businesses are concerned primarily in three areas. One is that people tend to shop later, so we want to make sure that there is enough lighting in the streets so there is a sense of safety in the area,” he said.
Abed identified the second concern as the need for a greater presence of uniformed officers.
“We have been assured by the Acting Commissioner of Police that with the Yuletide season coming up that he has . . . put enough people in place,” he noted.
The third concern, the businessman said, was people being more carefree and less vigilant as they shopped.
“People tend to get caught up in the feeling of the season and they forget about basic security,” he said.
As far as the specific security readiness of the businesses themselves, Abed said “the business community is definitely more aware than it has ever been of what a lapse in security would result in. So from that point of view I would say [it is] definitely [prepared]”.
“Most stores now have cameras in place. More stores now have security guards in place and, generally speaking, more stores are spending time training them to be aware and to keep their eyes open regarding people who may be loitering or unsavoury characters that may be in and around their workplace,” Abed added.
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