An official opening ceremony was held on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, at the Argyle Fire Station Training Room to commence the Crime Scene Management Course for thirty (30) Police Officers. The training is being facilitated by experts from the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) and the Regional Security System (RSS) in collaboration with the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF).
The ceremony was chaired by Lieutenant William Theobalds, the Course Coordinator and Training Officer in the RSVGPF. Remarks were delivered by the Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Enville Williams, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Crimes, Mr. Trevor Bailey, Chief of Operations at CARICOM IMPACS, Dr. Andre Clarke, the Director of Policing and Risk Management at RSS, Major Kerry Waterman. Hon. Grenville T. Williams, the Attorney General of SVG delivered the keynote address. Mr. Chesley Ollivierre, the Chief Analyst at the Regional Intelligence Fusion Center (RIFC) was also in attendance.
In his brief remarks, the Acting Commissioner of Police reminded the participants that the primary objective of the police is to prevent and detect crime. He emphasized that that particular objective is twinned with the mission of the RSVGPF. According to the Acting Commissioner, being adept at managing a crime scene is critical to the success of overall police investigations. He said “The manner in which police officers as First Responders secure a crime scene speaks volumes about the trajectory of the investigation going forward. I implore you to not only soak in the knowledge that you are going to receive from this training but incorporate it into your daily lives and practice as police officers”.
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Trevor Bailey told the participants that the crime scene speaks to the investigator so long as the science of policing is utilized properly. The seasoned investigator posited “I am delighted to address you this morning and to reiterate the importance of training in crime scene management. I want you to take this training seriously. When you arrive at a crime scene, you might meet a dead person. You have to have a conversation with the deceased person. You must be able to apply the science, techniques, and all of the skills that you gather during this training to have that conversation with a dead crime scene and make it speak to you”.
ACP Bailey continues “In other words, as police officers, sometimes we are asked to perform the impossible. But that is our duty. In reality, a dead man cannot have a conversation. But you must ask questions of the crime scene and if you know what to do, it will speak to you.
In his remarks, Dr. Andre Clarke said that it is unfortunate that serious and organized crimes such as gun crimes and shootings in the region continue to rise. He stated however that as criminals and criminal networks evolve, and become more innovative and agile in tandem with societal changes, so must law enforcement also.
According to Dr. Clarke “How our police officers and other First Responders manage scenes of crime is critical to the judicial disposal of these perpetrators. The fact is, if the crime scene is mismanaged, there is a direct impact on the efficacy of the investigation and inevitably, the outcome in the court. The mismanagement of crime scenes is an inadvertent complement to the defence and a gift to offenders. Simultaneously, the mishandling of crime scenes and compromise of forensics and exhibits is a failure on our part to the victims and their families”.
Dr. Clarke gave the assurance that CARICOM IMPACS and its Executive Director Lt. Col Michael Jones stand shoulder to shoulder with all Member States of CARICOM in the fight against crime – “and we look forward to working with the officers of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force”.
Major Kerry Waterman told the participants that over the next three (3) days, the facilitators will solidify the training in crime scene management as there is no better replacement than to do such training in person. “This training is important because when you get it right, you get the credit and commendation. When it goes wrong, this is where things roll downhill. People will scrutinize you and ask where did you go wrong?” According to Major Waterman, “The legal system does not give us two (2) bites at the cherry. When you get it wrong, the criminals get off and are able to continue to commit crimes. We do not want that.” During this training course, we will seek to give you additional tools to place in your arsenal to fight crime, said Mr. Major Waterman.
The Hon. Grenville Williams delivered a wide-ranging address. He touched on the police’s responsibility to take care of their resources and assets, Managing Crime, Community Policing, Communication, Crime Scene Management, Evidence Collection, and Preservation among others.
The Attorney General prefaced his remarks by commending police officers for their service to the RSVGPF and SVG. He told the officers in attendance “You do an important work. You execute an important service. You serve the people of SVG very well and on most occasions, you are not given the credit. We will hear the negative when the police fail to do something or whenever there is a perception that the police did not do something right. I want you to know that you are performing a very important role on behalf of all the people of SVG.”
The Hon. Attorney submitted that the first mission of all Vincentians should be to aim for a society with limited crime - a society where there is respect for life and where conflict resolution is at the core of our DNA and psyche. He enunciated various ways in which the police and society can manage, mitigate, and reduce crime. He said “Firstly, there must be a clear national policy and strategy for the police force to combat crime. And this must be supported by a clear and flexible plan. There must be a programme of continuous professional development. While your initial training is important, in order for you to be professional at your job, there must be a systematic programme of training and development. It is also my view that this training and development must be taken into consideration when persons are being considered for promotion.”
Mr. Williams said, “Sometimes, the question is asked, where is the police? It is important that your presence is felt. I noticed that there are a few patrols going on in Kingstown. It is important that the public feel your presence. I believe that the mere presence of a marked police vehicle on the road will make an impact. For example, if a driver is speeding on the road and he/she sees a police vehicle in the distance - that will change his /her behaviour and conduct.”
Touching on the issue concerning Community Policing, the Hon. Attorney General said it is a vital crime-fighting initiative. “Going out into the community is very important. Many people may say that there are delinquent persons sitting on the blocks who may be up to no good. But I want you to ask yourselves as police officers “How often do I go on the block and sit with those guys and find out what is their perspective? If I see you as a police officer and I am on the block and I don’t feel an association or connection with you, why would I cooperate with you?” asked the keynote speaker. Mr. Williams explained that he was not asking police officers to condone delinquent or bad behaviour but instead “develop a rapport with the members of the community and they would feel a sense of responsibility for keeping the peace in SVG.”
The training course will culminate at the same venue on Thursday, October 19, 2023, at 3:30 p.m. with a practical exercise.
SOURCE: Royal St.Vincent And The Grenadines Police Force