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St. Maarten police ‘moving in right direction’ says Council on Law Enforcement


PHILIPSBURG–The Police Force is “moving in the right direction” and has achieved much since the transition period made necessary when St. Maarten became a country, according to a recent report from the Council on Law Enforcement. The council presented the report to new Justice Minister Dennis Richardson on Monday.

“Investigating procedures used by the Detective force have visibly increased and it is now a matter of acting vigorously to implement further improvements without delay,” notes the report.

In the inspection report on the Detective Department, the council concluded that many positive developments were evident. These developments contribute to the efficiency of the Police Force in general and to that of investigation procedures in particular. The introduction of the community police is mentioned as an example of how the visibility of police has been increased, while in the area of forensic investigation, house burglaries and robberies, the objectives have been realised and the intended performance achieved.

A significant bottleneck is that any intended progress of the Police Force is strongly reliant on the Minister of Justice and other third parties. Essential decision-making in key areas cannot be taken in a timely manner in such cases, leading to a delay before those decisions are reached and implemented.

The Council on Law Enforcement looks forward to working closely with Richardson and members of the judicial system in taking fundamental decisions, resulting in the police management team being facilitated in managing and administering the St. Maarten police organisation.

In the second report presented to the Justice Minister, dealing with youth rehabilitation, the Council investigated to what extent government implements and executes policies with reference to the rehabilitation of minors who have committed criminal acts.

The report notes that a properly-functioning youth-rehabilitation system can prevent minors from repeating a criminal offence or even sliding into a career of criminal activity. Article 40 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child obliges signatories to encourage minors to a constructive role in the society after committing a criminal act.

In St. Maarten, the Court of Guardianship has juvenile rehabilitation among its responsibilities. The report shows that the supervision of minors who have come in contact with the law is still in its early stages. Among the challenges the Court of Guardianship faces is a lack of sufficient and qualified personnel to carry out those tasks.

The Council on Law Enforcement applauds initiatives taken by the Ministry of Justice to enhance implementation of juvenile rehabilitation under the leadership of the Committee Judicial Youth Policy Plan.

The Council on Law Enforcement made the presentation to Richardson ahead of his attending the regular semi-annual consultation meeting of the Ministers of Justice of Curaçao, St. Maarten, Aruba and The Netherlands to be held in Aruba this week.

Council on Law Enforcement chairman Franklyn Richards presented the two reports in keeping with the council’s practice of duly informing stakeholders in the judicial system of current developments that may have a bearing on crime, safety and security issues.

Richardson expressed appreciation for the briefing given by the Council on Law Enforcement about recent and ongoing investigations as well as other developments with regard to its tasks and competencies.

Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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