Strategy to tackle gun crime to be released within days

Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin
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By Carlena Knight

[email protected]

Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin has confirmed that details of a comprehensive plan to tackle crime will be released in the coming days.

He told Observer that the information will be made public after he concludes meetings with the top brass of law enforcement agencies, aimed at finding solutions to curb an alarming spate of violent crime.

Improved surveillance will form part of efforts geared towards addressing a recent increase in armed robberies at business establishments.

In the last week, there have been at least four armed robbery attempts in and around St John’s, which have ignited concerns by the public over a lack of adequate police presence in some areas.

Former assistant commissioner of police Nuffield Burnette was one of those voices as he took the police force to task over what he said was a dearth of patrols and a lack of “robust policing”.

But, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, several strategies have been discussed during a recent meeting of the National Security Council.

One such is improved surveillance in and around the city.

Browne explained that specific individuals will be tasked with ensuring that the cameras around St John’s are “properly maintained and monitored”.

“Again, we are putting a comprehensive plan in place. Already, at the national security meeting we would have spoken to Colonel [Telbert] Benjamin [head of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force], and others, about certain things that need to be done.

“The Chief Immigration Officer, as well, will be presiding over certain strategies, especially, to address those criminal elements who may not be citizens,” he said.

Addressing the lack of manpower and an increase in patrols was also identified by PM Browne as some of the solutions to curb the surge in robberies.

“There will be greater police presence and certain strategic underground, but legal, clandestine operations … to try and target certain known criminals, because we are convinced that these activities are being perpetrated by known criminals who are using the opportunity of wearing a mask in order to pursue their criminal activities,” Browne added.

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