The government and law enforcement agencies are promising increased surveillance, vigilance and enforcement as they were summoned to the Cabinet in light of a spike in crime.
The Commissioner of Police, two Deputy Commissioners, and other Police top brass, an Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force Colonel, and the ONDCP acting head were part of crime discussions yesterday.
According to the government, the installation of security cameras in areas that may attract criminal activity was also addressed.
“It was agreed that monitoring of the installed cameras would be intensified,” said government spokesman Lionel Hurst in post-cabinet notes.
The security forces also indicated that several of the small number of criminal males who are involved in handgun crimes are “not unknown to the police.”
The police appear to be blaming the granting of bail, for criminals returning to the streets to commit crimes.
“Several have been arrested, held on remand and then seek bail successfully; they then return to criminal activities during the wait for their trial. The law enforcement personnel are compelled to abide by legal and constitutional safeguards, and the criminals have learned how to overcome several of those lawful restrictions. A renewed and strengthened effort to catch and to achieve convictions would be adopted by the agencies.”
According to Hurst, the Prime Minister indicated the willingness of the Cabinet to provide the necessary tools and equipment which the increased security plans may require.
The three arms of the state’s security apparatus also agreed to collaborate more closely to attack the challenge posed by the daring criminals, Hurst said.
“The illegal importation of handguns was deemed the most challenging, given the many beaches and coves around Antigua that allow for smuggling. Canines at the Port were also driving criminals to other unlawful techniques.”
Crime has spiked ahead of Carnival with shootings, stabbings and robberies occurring nightly.
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