Monday , March 20 2023

Serious shortcomings within Police Caribbean Netherlands

The Daily Herald writes that the Council for the Judiciary (Raad voor de Rechtshandhaving) has noted serious shortcomings in the crime-fighting efforts of detectives of the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force. The Council, presided over by former Lt. Governor of St. Maarten Franklyn Richards, filed a report in April, which was not made public until recently. The Council studied the effects of crime fighting in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in late 2012. One of its findings was that police affairs in Saba and Statia are considered “neglected children” within the force, which is based on Bonaire. There are also serious problems with police management. Corps leaders were aware of the problems, and pressured by the Judiciary Council, took measures to improve the situation. According to the report, crimes are seldom “structurally and completely” investigated on Saba and Statia due to a lack of means, knowledge and police capacity. Because of their small scale, there is no independent police-detection capacity on these two islands. For big cases detectives have to be flown in from Bonaire, which causes undesired delays in the handling of violent crimes, sex crimes and crimes involving youths.

The Council for the Judiciary said that police leadership on Bonaire has ”little sense of urgency” where crime fighting in Saba and Statia is concerned. The Council also noted problems with police management and found that certain departments, especially those dealing with more complicated, longterm cases, are short-staffed. This had a negative impact on quality, it was stated in the report. It was also noted that despite efforts to this effect there are still no reliable statistics of crime in the Caribbean Netherlands. The Council for the Judiciary is therefore wondering on which the policy of detectives and the crime-fighting process are based.

Considering the seriousness of problems, the Council immediately requested a response from police force leadership at the end of 2012. Based on measures taken to alleviate the most important bottlenecks, the Council said it was confident that the force will improve its quality.

The situation on Saba and Statia has the attention of the Police Chief Commander, but the Council keeps stressing that the situation on the islands needs serious attention. Information systems are insufficiently utilised, which also requires “rapid improvements.”

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