Posted on 27 February 2015.
Media and villagers search for answers and information
During their first in a new series of monthly the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) management was asked for reaction to the Governor’s suggestion that there were no results or arrests made in the recently and much criticized Davy Hill raid operation on January 30, 2015.
Commissioner Steve Foster first addressed this issue and said as follows: We have carried out a number of operations in areas Carrs Bay, Davy Hill area and they have been successful. We have made arrests, we have seized drugs, we have taken persons drugs off the street and we will continue to do that.”
Directing his next comment to the actual question, he offered. “Not every operation may come out with an arrest because we are working on intelligence and it’s not all the time that information or intelligence would be 100% correct and or persons may be forewarned that the police are on their way and they may have changed operations, so they are gathering intelligence and we are gathering intelligence. So if their intelligence give them ideas, then they operate on their intelligence and we operate on ours.”
They were asked whether they have had any positive results as described in previous raids in Davy Hill and the Deputy Commissioner Thompson explained, “…the success of an operation doesn’t necessarily hinge on an arrest, because during an operation there are lots of observation that can be made, there are lots of intelligence, information and intelligence can also be gathered so that would lead to futuristic plans and also operations.”
He further explains. “we really should not be looking at that, that’s not how we look at it from our training… we would have done operations, it may not necessarily lead to an arrest of a person or persons or seizing of illegal drugs but by virtue of the fact that we would have gathered additional information and intelligence, in that light it is a success for us.”
The command was further quizzed about the operation being discussed as to its preparation and the lack of information provided by media upon learning about it; the fact that a subsequent press release referred to concerns dating back from 2010 and the statistical analysis they presented.
The release covered much of what was repeated at the press conference. It stated: “The mandate to tackle crime and arrest the fear of crime is that of the Royal Montserrat Police Service. Our statistics show that there has been an increase in marijuana and cocaine interdiction bound for Montserrat. Likewise law enforcement officials intercepted several packages of illicit drugs which were being exported from Montserrat. It is therefore incumbent that the Police Service intensifies its initiatives to arrest the prevalence of illicit drugs and other crimes.”
Similarly, the release said: “In executing these responsibilities, the organisation will employ the necessary strategies and tactics that will demonstrate professionalism in the way it carries out these functions.
We act on information and intelligence to guide our operations. This is done through extensive analysis to determine the accuracy before they are executed.”
The foregoing is exactly what the media and other concerned persons had been questioning. As photos show at the time of the operation, the press is at odds trying to get information, with children and others in the vicinity looking at officers seemingly on alert heavy protected and armored. Based on the information in the release and at the press conference, already the speculation was that the exercise was more one for training. That seems not farfetched on the knowledge that the RMPS is in search for competent officers from among its ranks to fill the vacancy of Superintendent and that person’s replacement. However, the Deputy and the Acting Superintendent Kirwan responded:
The Deputy led off, noting that we raised the point of the ‘humanitarian aspect’. “…intelligence is perishable, it has a shelf life and as a result you are likely to find that the Intel that you get this morning would change by this afternoon or change within minutes time. As a result that may very well impact one way or the other on your overall operation,” adding, “I just wanted to make that point that we do what we call risk assessment.”
“We have to take into consideration all the issues that we would have raised, the humanitarian side, the impact on communities, the impact on the individuals, the impact on who are actually goanna be on the ground and also and very critical too, the impact on the organization.”
This he said is, “because we have to ensure that when we go out and do something it has to be done professionally and that what we strive for.”
They top officers said that these operations, “they are very detailed, they are guided by what we call operational orders and as you will have realized it is always going to be evolving.”
In the end the RMPS managers said they will take the issues on board. “…the point that you have raised again is something that we would take on board and we will continue to look at, even though we are doing it and looking at ways and means of improvement.
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