Categorized | Local, News

Mini crime wave or Escalation?

by Bennette Roach

Since the Government House release of January 16, 2012 announcing an extensive internal investigation by the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) into allegations of police misconduct during and following the arrests of George Leonard and George Farrell on the morning of December 17, 2011, allegations and reports of varying  crimes surfaced.

Commissioner of Police Steve Foster

 The reports by the police all dated from December, suggested that there was an increase in the pattern serious crimes. Since the investigation into the police misconduct which has so far resulted in the arrest and charge of one police sergeant, much attention shifted to the police who eventually, almost every week were reporting allegations of criminal activities, to include rape, attempted, rape, burglary, attempted burglary, theft, violence, assaults… Soon the police were issuing statements to ZJB calling on the public for information and assistance leading to the apprehension of perpetrators.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Morris

 While making the reports the police indicated an escalation in crime which was described perhaps more accurately as a ‘mini crime wave’ by H E Governor Adrian Davis at his most recent press conference on March 21.

 Meanwhile, prior to the above and before the report on the police investigation was made, there was the surprise resignation of the Deputy Commissioner Paul Morris, who later made an unsuspecting damning statement on himself in public at a police forum. (See: Paul Morris calls for ‘radical’ difference in policing… March 9, 2012 issue).

The Governor during his press conference confirmed that the police has taken the initiative, forced to go on a damage control campaign and face the public by holding forums where they hope to pacify the public and explain the need for their cooperation in preventing and solving what they termed, the escalating rate of crime.

The press meantime while accepting the Governor’s term of a ‘mini crime wave’ questioned whether the situation was an acceleration when compared with previous years.

Types of Crime

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Homicide

1

1

0

0

0

0

Wounding

9

11

12

15

7

9

Assaults

122

136

110

119

111

87

Rape / Sexual Offences

6

2

11

7

1

7

Burglary

46

70

69

81

63

70

Attempted Burglary

5

9

8

0

0

6

Theft

19

27

19

36

54

63

Fraud

6

2

1

0

0

0

Domestic Violence

205

160

103

166

144

117

Criminal Damage

24

17

21

36

32

31

Suspected Arson

0

1

1

1

1

2

Robbery

0

0

1

1

1

1

Dangerous Drugs

23

39

17

10

39

27

Attempted Murder

1

1

0

1

2

0

Murder

0

0

1

0

0

0

Suicide

0

0

0

0

1

0

 Totals

467

476

374

473

456

420

Following the press conference the police provided the above chart which shows that crimes came down from a comparatively near high in 2009 of 473 to 420 in 2011. Some of the serious crimes being spoken of now were reported in December 2011. However according to reports the crime figures for the first months of the year are generally lower than last year’s.

 Also questionable and probably more the cause of panic that set in with the police is what the revelation would be as to how many of the crimes over the years have been resolved whether through the courts or otherwise.

The Commissioner of Police Steve Foster shifted the panic on to the public and wrote in a release on March 21: “In the recent past, that is within the last few months the island has seen a number of serious crimes which have created fear and panic throughout Montserrat…”

 He released the statement on radio, finally sharing it with TMR. “I am appealing to the entire listening public to assist the police. I am aware that there are persons among us who have information which can assist the police in solving these crimes.  We want to implore you to come forward and assist us with the on-going enquiries. Withholding information will help no one, and only serves to put more people at risk and contribute to the deterioration of our peaceful and tranquil island,“ he said.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Bennette Roach

Since the Government House release of January 16, 2012 announcing an extensive internal investigation by the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) into allegations of police misconduct during and following the arrests of George Leonard and George Farrell on the morning of December 17, 2011, allegations and reports of varying  crimes surfaced.

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Commissioner of Police Steve Foster

 The reports by the police all dated from December, suggested that there was an increase in the pattern serious crimes. Since the investigation into the police misconduct which has so far resulted in the arrest and charge of one police sergeant, much attention shifted to the police who eventually, almost every week were reporting allegations of criminal activities, to include rape, attempted, rape, burglary, attempted burglary, theft, violence, assaults… Soon the police were issuing statements to ZJB calling on the public for information and assistance leading to the apprehension of perpetrators.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Morris

 While making the reports the police indicated an escalation in crime which was described perhaps more accurately as a ‘mini crime wave’ by H E Governor Adrian Davis at his most recent press conference on March 21.

 Meanwhile, prior to the above and before the report on the police investigation was made, there was the surprise resignation of the Deputy Commissioner Paul Morris, who later made an unsuspecting damning statement on himself in public at a police forum. (See: Paul Morris calls for ‘radical’ difference in policing… March 9, 2012 issue).

The Governor during his press conference confirmed that the police has taken the initiative, forced to go on a damage control campaign and face the public by holding forums where they hope to pacify the public and explain the need for their cooperation in preventing and solving what they termed, the escalating rate of crime.

The press meantime while accepting the Governor’s term of a ‘mini crime wave’ questioned whether the situation was an acceleration when compared with previous years.

Types of Crime

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Homicide

1

1

0

0

0

0

Wounding

9

11

12

15

7

9

Assaults

122

136

110

119

111

87

Rape / Sexual Offences

6

2

11

7

1

7

Burglary

46

70

69

81

63

70

Attempted Burglary

5

9

8

0

0

6

Theft

19

27

19

36

54

63

Fraud

6

2

1

0

0

0

Domestic Violence

205

160

103

166

144

117

Criminal Damage

24

17

21

36

32

31

Suspected Arson

0

1

1

1

1

2

Robbery

0

0

1

1

1

1

Dangerous Drugs

23

39

17

10

39

27

Attempted Murder

1

1

0

1

2

0

Murder

0

0

1

0

0

0

Suicide

0

0

0

0

1

0

 Totals

467

476

374

473

456

420

Following the press conference the police provided the above chart which shows that crimes came down from a comparatively near high in 2009 of 473 to 420 in 2011. Some of the serious crimes being spoken of now were reported in December 2011. However according to reports the crime figures for the first months of the year are generally lower than last year’s.

 Also questionable and probably more the cause of panic that set in with the police is what the revelation would be as to how many of the crimes over the years have been resolved whether through the courts or otherwise.

The Commissioner of Police Steve Foster shifted the panic on to the public and wrote in a release on March 21: “In the recent past, that is within the last few months the island has seen a number of serious crimes which have created fear and panic throughout Montserrat…”

 He released the statement on radio, finally sharing it with TMR. “I am appealing to the entire listening public to assist the police. I am aware that there are persons among us who have information which can assist the police in solving these crimes.  We want to implore you to come forward and assist us with the on-going enquiries. Withholding information will help no one, and only serves to put more people at risk and contribute to the deterioration of our peaceful and tranquil island,“ he said.