End of Year Address to the Nation by Commissioner of Police Vernon Francois
Once again it is the time of year for me to extend warmest greetings during the festive season and a Happy New Year to one and all. It is opportune for me to thank the Government of Saint Lucia and the other government agencies for their continued support during 2012. It is my fervent hope that we will all continue working towards the overall development of our beloved country.
I am also thankful to the general citizenry for their level of support and continued faith in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. Our success this year has shown what the police and the public can achieve if we work together. Your willingness to cooperate with the police department has contributed immensely to our fight against crime. It is, therefore, my commitment to reward your goodwill by my unwavering efforts to work towards a more professional Police Department.
I would also like in a profound way to thank my colleague Police Officers for their hard work in 2012. Notwithstanding the arduous nature of your duties, you have shown by your efforts that the mission of the organization can be realized. I thank you for your support, whether you are a Gazetted Officer, Inspector, Regular Police Officer, Special Police Constable or Special Reserve Officer.
Thanks to your support and that of the Government and the general public, the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force has been able to realize a number of initiatives in 2012. We were able to further the philosophy of community oriented policing by conducting a Train the Trainers Program for selected officers. The intention is for these Officers to train one hundred percent of our Officers in the area of Community Partnership and Service Driven Policing.
The observance of Police Week of Activities under the theme, “It’s our community, let’s work together for a safer society”, has been deemed the most successful in recent memory. During the week, we visited and distributed grocery hampers to sick and shut –in Police Officers and other needy members of our various communities; thanked Saint Lucians in a public way during our successful island wide Police Train; organized a two day exhibition featuring the various Police Units; awarded Police Officers, Units, Departments and Police Stations for outstanding work during the course of the year.
I must also highlight the work of our Officers who for the third consecutive year distributed sixty five grocery hampers to needy students in the Northern part of the island and the setting up of a vegetable garden at the Holy Family Children Home at Ciceron, Castries. They were also instrumental in organizing Parenting Workshops and After School Programs in various communities across the island. One other significant achievement in this area was the hosting of an awards ceremony for twenty three elderly persons for service to the Micoud Community.
Our efforts at rewarding police officers also reflected itself during the Commissioner’s quarterly parade and award ceremonies. After a period of over four years without any promotions in the Police Department, we were able, through an objective process, to promote forty four officers to the rank of Corporal; twenty six to the rank of Sergeant and ten to the rank of Inspector. Through the support of the Ministry of Public Service and the Public Service Commission, we were also able to confirm in post all of our outstanding acting appointments at the Gazetted Officer level of the Force.
In the area of Health and Wellness, the Police Department was able, for the second consecutive year, to organize a successful health week of activities. The week was highlighted by a health walk for Police Officers and members of the Saint Lucian Public and screening of Police Officers for a variety of lifestyle related illnesses. We are proud to be the only organization in St. Lucia to boast two annual fitness walks in which members of the public are invited to participate. Our efforts at health and fitness also extend to the organization financing the participation of police officers in walks which are organized by other agencies.
As an organization, we remain resolute in our battle against all forms of criminal activity in St. Lucia. In this area, the Police Department has increased its focus on intelligence driven policing and improving our relationships with the Saint Lucian public. We also focused on preventative policing by increasing our physical presence and operations in crime prone areas. Our efforts in these areas have been augmented by the Special Reserve Police. I am profoundly thankful for their unwavering support during the course of the year.
The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force also appreciates the relationship between illegal drugs and criminality. Our efforts in the area of drug reduction resulted in the seizure of 1032.08 kilograms of cannabis with a street value of EC $ 1, 362, 345.60 and 233.258 kilograms of cocaine worth a street value of EC $ 5, 131, 676.00. These figures compare favorably with 2011, when 636.8 kilograms of cannabis and 187.7 kilograms of cocaine respectively, were removed from our shores. We propose to continue our intelligence driven policing and community partnership efforts in the New Year. It is our expectations that our crime fighting efforts particularly as it relates to property crimes will be augmented by the recently commissioned automated fingerprint information system.
In an effort to continue improving relationships with the public through communication, I propose to commence a series of community town hall meetings dubbed “Meet the Commissioner” in the New Year. This program will also include a quarterly press conference involving the Commissioner and other senior level members of the Police Force. We also propose in the New Year to have a greater focus on Road Traffic by designating patrol points in various parts of the island.
In conclusion, I would like to once again thank my colleague Police Officers and the general public for supporting the efforts of the Police Department in 2012. I am counting on your support in the ensuing year. It is also my intention to continue making Police Officers proud of their profession. Whilst I propose to reward good behavior, I am also committed to punishing errant behavior on the part of police officers. I reiterate my support for Police officers who act professionally.
Thanks for your support and let us all strive to realize a crime reduced and peaceful new year.