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RMPS face the media

RMPS reports on crime and challenges at first new monthly press conferences


Ag. Superindent Kirwan, Deputy Commissioner Thompson and Commissioner Foster

Top Management of Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) on Friday 20, 2015 held a press conference, the first for 2015 and for quite some time and since the departure of Canadian, Deputy Bradley Siddell.

Citing that this was to be the first of regular monthly press conferences, Commissioner Steve Forster, Deputy Commissioner Charles Thompson and Assistant Superintendent (acting) Bennett Karwin faced ZJB and The Montserrat Reporter media members and spoke on the challenges, weaknesses and strengths of policing in Montserrat as well as answered question from them during.

In his introduction Police Commissioner Steve Forster noted community policing as being top priority on the agenda for the men and woman in uniform in 2015 .”We attended held a number of village meetings; in the Davy Hill area, and also the Lookout community group.” he said, where they shared and discussed with the groups.

Having recently published the comparative crime statistics for 2014, Mr. Foster spoke to the consistent overall decline in crime during the past five years alluding to statistics from 2010 to 2014 presented by the Police Service in January 2015. The chief cop made special reference to 2012 as a challenging year for the police service.

But the police reported that while there was a general decline in crime and violence on the island there was still a 13% increase in major crimes. However, the commissioner continued to stress it’s not a “concern figure” since, “we continue to enjoy peace and safety on island.”

There was a 30% increase in drug related arrests, but again the Commissioner noted for the benefit of the public, “this is not an indication that there is more drugs on the streets of Montserrat.”

Securing of the coastal borderlines and the exclusion zone as usual came up for discussion. This, continues to be a challenge for the police according to the Commissioner, but he said that during the 2015 budgetary talks with DIFID there was urgent emphasis on the need for security equipment both in sea and on land, as he cited the inadequacy of the current coast guard vessel which simply can’t meet the work load placed on it. He praised Governor Adrian Davis for adding to the emphasis of the urgent needs for these equipment during the budgetary talks.

RMPS face the media

RMPS face the media

The Governor during his February press conference touted that it is not his sole responsibility to obtain financial support for the police equipment and the conduct of their affairs. He said he worked cooperatively with the Government. “… that exception is a rather large exception, like everything else. I mean it’s not my sole responsibility – it is according to the Constitution but it’s something that we try and workout cooperatively in terms of development which is the Government’s main priority.”

He saw the circumstances as developmental. He said, “we all accept that development depends on a low level of crime and keeping that kind of reputation that Montserrat has. Iit’s a shared objective it does need a budget.” He added that one of the particular preoccupations, “which we’re going to have to discuss is the longstanding issue of a proper replacement for Shamrock which we need to do.”

At the close of his introduction, almost out of the blue, and as an introduction to the recent much talked of police operation at Davy Hill, Foster said: “I would like to highlight here that there are three arms of Government, there is the executive, the judiciary and the administrative and we all have our rolls and functions and will leave it there.”

The media led off the statement and the Commissioner seemed hard pressed to respond under which of these three arms he was controlled. At first he responded that he served independently but finally admitted he reported to the Governor who had responsibility for security and the justice system.

The Davy Hill operation then held centre stage continuing into the press conference, as the officers noted that of the two page press release issued by the police, only two short paragraphs actually dealt with it. (See report in this issue on page

The police management team also confirmed that contrary to responses that the police had little to do with the new mode of vehicular licensing procedure the Police Service was involved in the process from since its inception. They apologised for information previously provided by officers.

At the close the management team emphasised that despite the many challenges the law men says it’s their goal to maintain the peace and safety enjoyed on Montserrat and that they will continue to carry out operations to maintain this.

Posted in Local, News, Security2 Comments


Police raid section of Davy Hill Community


Police constrain pedestrian

Police constrain pedestrian

DSC_2731Just three (3) days after the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) reported crime reduction statistics to a group plus of regulars at the Sujue Davis, wife of His Excellency the Governor Coffee Morning gathering, they conducted an operation in the north Davy Hill community.

The operation sparked some controversy after the media reported the lack of or scant information surrounding the operation.

Minister of Agriculture, Housing, Trade, Lands, and Environment, the Hon. Claude Hogan publicly criticized the operation on Friday, January 30, 2015.

In a radio interview with ZJB’s Basil Chambers the following morning Minister Hogan said, “What’s needed in areas like Davy Hill is more police presence.”

He called on the law enforcement officers to have a more modernised approach in conducting their duties. “Operations like these are only warranted in a life and death situation,” he said.

Directing the following comments to the Davy Hill community, Hogan said, “I have spoken to the authorities for myself after this thing yesterday and I want to ensure the people of Davy Hill that what happened should not have happened the way it did, notwithstanding that the police have the right to undertake these operations”

The raid operation was conducted in the area between the entrance to the incomplete Davy Hill Community Center and the office of the Montserrat Reporter; the street was completely blocked by the Police with no foot or motor vehicular traffic allowed through.

Both ZJB and TMR reporters sought to speak to the commanding officer for the operation, Inspector Albert Williams, but was directed to the Director of Operation Superintendent Bennett Kirwan at Headquarters in Brades.

There were no comments from Kirwan who said he can’t make a statement on the matter.

Meanwhile other members of the community are outraged over the manner in which the operation was conducted by the law men. During the operation some were shouting, “gross miscarriage of power”, while others considered it to be an abuse of their human rights.

Posted in Local, News, Security6 Comments

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