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#450335 - 11/03/12 11:34 AM Minster Saldivar: New crime fighting measures
Marty Offline


Minister of National Security unveils new crime fighting measures


Minster Saldivar Reports

Minister of National Security John Saldivar today announced a number of new crime fighting measures. The announcement came at the Prime Minister’s second business forum.

Saldivar said the three weakest areas in the Police Department are intelligence gathering, investigation and prosecution. The added measures will cost the Department an additional 100 thousand dollars weekly.

LOVETV


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#450338 - 11/03/12 11:45 AM Re: Minster Saldivar: New crime fighting measures [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Major Crime Crackdown: "Crime Ridden" Areas To Be Designated

Minister of National security John Saldivar introduced a package of major anti-crime initiatives yesterday at the Prime Minister's business forum.

The independent media wasn't permitted to stick around to tape his speech, but we got it from the press office. He speaks first about employing an unused law to declare certain areas as "crime ridden."

That is a special legal status which gives police wide powers to conduct searches without warrants, restrict movement within an area and to cordon it off.

It is a big law enforcement stick - which also clashes with the personal liberties of citizens. That's why in the past, police ministers have been wary to invoke it.

But Saldivar - who's never been afraid to take tough decisions and court controversy - said yesterday that the law will be used this time.

And, we'd say it started this morning before six am when police and BDF descended on La Croix Boulevard, Linda Vista streets and adjoining areas.

That's been one of the hottest areas in the city and police - including the K-9 unit swarmed it this morning. We couple those images with Saldivar's explanation of the new rules of engagement for areas designated as "Crime-ridden."

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police
"Since yesterday the security forces including the BDF have been deployed into crime ridden areas and are as we speak aggressively targeting and disrupting criminals and their activities. There is now visible presence in these areas and again ask your cooperation and understanding during the security forces operations."

"The police commissioner will be invoking today, for the first time I believe since the law was passed the declaration of several crime infested areas of Belize City as crime ridden areas which will give his police and BDF the power to search any and all houses in the area without the need for a warrant."

"This declaration will also allow the police and the BDF to restrict movement in and out of these areas. These areas will be cordon off and every person entering and exiting the area will be stopped and searched and a systematic house by house search of these areas will be done with immediate effect."

The engagement on La Croix street lasted from 5:30 to about 10 am. We could not confirm with police if that had been officially designated as "crime ridden"

A part of the programme also involves the introduction of stepped up patrols checkpoints. The patrols will be an extension of the stepped up patrols that we usually see on weekend. But now they will be conducted all week long.

And the checkpoints will be intensive, where police intend to identify and detain criminals.

Saldivar explained:

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police
"Patrols which used to be stepped up on the weekends are now stepped up on a daily basis. 6 ATVs with police and BDF are now deployed on a daily basis. Special foot patrols are now in place also on a daily basis. Vehicle check points are once again being strategically placed across the city to intercept and disrupt criminals. Special intelligence officers who are familiar with these criminals are being placed at these check points with list of names and pictures of persons of interest. Every person in whom we have an interest will be detained and held for questioning as often as long as it takes for the police to conduct proper investigations into the many unsolved crimes that are under investigation."

The sustained crackdown and special duties - which will go right through to Christmas - will cost one hundred thousand dollars a week and will see at least a 25% increase in deployment of manpower.

And, Saldivar also says he plans to beef up the police prosecution branch. But in the interim he wants to make bail more difficult to get for repeat offenders.

He made a call on the courts:..

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police
"As of today the police are under instructions to begin to crack down on all those who commit petty offences and quality of life crimes. Discipline begins with the small things and it is perhaps because of our neglect of small crimes that we now have a crisis with big crimes."

"As of today the director of public persecutions is being asked to petition the court for the imposition of stiffer conditions for bail and even the denial of bail for repeat offenders. I am making a public call to the magistrates and judges to use their discretion afforded to them by law to imposed stiffer penalties on persistent criminals to impose stiffer conditions for bail and to even begin denying bail to these habitual criminals."

As for juvenile offenders, there is a plan for them also. A special correctional training facility to house convicted habitual juvenile criminals will also be built. The AMANDALA reports that this will be in the Pine ridge Area.

Channel 5


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#450343 - 11/03/12 12:13 PM Re: Minster Saldivar: New crime fighting measures [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

SALDIVAR DECLARES “STATE OF EMERGENCY” ON CRIME!

Police will search “any and all houses … without the need for a warrant”! – National Security Minister John Saldivar

Minister of National Security John Saldivar announced at the Second Business Forum held at Old Belize today that the Commissioner of Police, David Henderson, “will be invoking today the declaration of several crime-infested areas of Belize City as ‘crime-ridden’ areas,” giving power to security forces “to search any or all houses in the area without the need for a warrant” and “allowing them to restrict movement in and out of” specific areas that will be cordoned off.

“Every person entering and exiting the area will be searched,” said Saldivar. “A systematic house-by-house search of these areas will be done with immediate effect…”

Amandala contacted Commissioner Henderson for further information. He confirmed to our newspaper that the operation has kicked off today, and would cover “quite a number of areas,” but he declined to comment on details and ended the call when we were probing, saying he had a call on another line.

Today, the Minister of National Security conceded that in recent weeks, another crime wave has been sweeping the city. He also conceded that at the time of his party’s reelection this year, the gang truce “was at advanced state of deterioration.”

According to the minister, March and May saw a spike of 17 % in major crimes, particularly in the Belize, Cayo, and Corozal Districts, with that period recording 709 major crimes, 119 more than in 2011.

Meanwhile, Saldivar pointed to a 6.4% reduction in major crimes from June to September: 901 major crimes reported versus 1070 for the same period last year.

Recently, he added, we have been experiencing one of those spikes in crimes which have the effect of eroding any appearance of even limited success in the fight against crime. This, said the minister, has caused them to step back and revisit their crime-fighting approach.

“Security forces have since yesterday been deployed in ‘crime ridden’ areas,” Saldivar reported. He said that there is now a visible presence by security forces in these areas and he asks the cooperation and understanding of the public during the security forces operation.

Meanwhile, special operations on weekends have grown into seven-day operations, the minister said.

These operations have been successful in stemming the regular weekend spate that used to fill Monday night newscasts, said Saldivar. As a result, he said, criminals have since shifted their activities to weekdays and broad daylight.

Police have, consequently, stepped up patrols, and 6 ATVS with police and Belize Defence Force (BDF) officers have been deployed on a daily basis, along with special foot patrols.

Additionally, said the National Security Minister, vehicle checkpoints are being strategically placed across the city to intercept criminals, and the security personnel have a list of names and pictures of “persons of interest” who, said Saldivar “will be detained and held for questioning as often and as long as it takes for police to conduct proper investigations into the many unsolved crimes that are under investigation.”

The usual Christmas special duties are being stepped up as of today, the minister furthermore said. The plan, he added, is to increase police and BDF presence by 25%.

“As of today, police are under instructions to begin to crack down on all those who commit petty offences and organized crimes…,” he said.

He said that the Director of Public Prosecutions has also been asked to petition the courts for stiffer conditions for bail and even the denial of bail for repeat offenders. The minister made a public call to the courts to impose stiffer penalties and conditions for bail, and to even begin denying bail to habitual criminals.

A special facility will be opened in the Mountain Pine Ridge area, operated by the BDF, for juvenile offenders, even those who are convicted of misdemeanors and petty crimes, he announced.

The cost of the new measures, said Saldivar, is in excess of $100,000 weekly.

Amandala


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#450347 - 11/03/12 12:33 PM Re: Minster Saldivar: New crime fighting measures [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Crime Declaration: no warrant needed; area access restricted

John Saldivar

Belize may not be a police state, but the implementation of some draconian laws may have that effect in certain neighborhoods in Belize City and possibly other parts of the country. The government considers crime has reached crisis levels and on Thursday, the Prime Minister said, there is no way we can give in to a climate that holds business and entire communities hostage.” At the same business forum, the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, declared that certain hotspots would now fall under the term Crime Ridden Areas. In these areas officers would enter private property and conduct searches at any given time without the need of a warrant. Movement in and out of those areas would be restricted, and systematic searches would be the norm. Saldivar said on Thursday that the new measures came with immediate effect as of Wednesday. The media was barred from recording this portion of the forum today we got a copy of Saldivar’s statement.

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“Since yesterday, the security forces including the B.D.F. have been deployed into crime ridden areas and are, as we speak, aggressively targeting and disrupting criminals and their activities. There is now visible presence in these areas and we again ask your cooperation and understanding during the security forces operations. The police commissioner will be invoking today, for the first time I believe since the law was passed, the declaration of several crime infested areas of Belize City as crime ridden areas which will give his police and B.D.F. the power to search any and all houses in the area without the need for a warrant. This declaration will also allow the police and the B.D.F. to restrict movement in and out of these areas. These areas will be cordoned off and every person entering and exiting the area will be stopped and searched and a systematic house by house search of these areas will be done with immediate effect. The police and the B.D.F. have for several weeks now been conducting special operations in the city on weekends. These operations, in our opinion, have been stemming the regular weekend spate that used to full the Monday night newscast. However, the criminals have adapted and shifted their activities to weekdays and even broad daylight. We therefore are quickly adapting and as of yesterday the weekend operations of the police and B.D.F. have now become an everyday, seven days a week, operation. Patrols which used to be stepped up on the weekends are now stepped up on a daily basis. Six ATVs with police and B.D.F. are now deployed on a daily basis. Special foot patrols are now in place also on a daily basis. Vehicle checkpoints are once again being strategically placed cross the city to intercept and disrupt criminals. Special intelligence officers who are familiar with these criminals are being placed at these checkpoints with list of names and pictures of persons of interest. Every person in whom we have an interest will be detained and held for questioning as often and as long as it takes for the police to conduct proper investigations into the many unsolved crimes that are under investigation. As of today, the Director of Public Prosecutions is being asked to petition the court for the imposition of stiffer conditions for bail and even the denial of bail for repeat offenders. I am making a public call to the magistrates and judges to use their discretion afforded to them by law to impose stiffer penalties on persistent criminals; to impose stiffer conditions for bail and even begin denying bail to these habitual criminals. With regards to the habitual criminals, especial juvenile habitual criminals, I am happy to report that the Ministry of National Security has received the go-ahead of the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, to establish a corrective training facility where we intend to house convicted habitual juvenile criminals for a period of corrective training and discipline. More on this proposal will be released shortly, but I can indicate from the outset that this facility will be located in the Pine Ridge; it will be administered by the Belize Defence Force personnel.”

According Saldivar, the operations will cost in excess of one hundred thousand dollars on a weekly basis. 

Channel 5


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#450348 - 11/03/12 12:34 PM Re: Minster Saldivar: New crime fighting measures [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Attorney weighs in on new anti-crime initiative

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

There is arguably no law-firm that has clocked more hours on crime related litigation in court than that of Defense Attorney, Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley. Bradley, whose social voice is heard on the Dickie Bradley Special which airs on this station, also chimed in on the need for a better crime strategy. He told News Five that the law to which Saldivar referred was an amendment in the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act from about two decades ago.

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Attorney

“Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act stretching back into the 1990s, amended periodically, and under that law, the Minister of National Security or whoever is the Minister for Security or police can designate areas which would be designated as crime ridden areas, which will be literally cordoned off and the security forces would have the authority to restrict and perhaps even prevent the movement of persons going in and out of this area. You would have to justify why is it that you are coming into this area. Clearly if you live in this area, you have a right to go to your home and your yard and vice-versa to leave and go and do shopping and soon. But there is a law that gives the police and the B.D.F., the security forces in this country, the authority to cordon off, to restrict movements into and out of an area.”

Jose Sanchez

“Why have we never heard of this being done before?”

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

“There is a law for that and it is a signal that in fact the government is really at its whit’s end to in fact do something about what is plaguing the society which is in particular violent crime; lack of disciple and the total disrespect for the rights of other persons when it comes to robbing, stealing, looting and shooting.”

Jose Sanchez

“Does this at any point crosses over into what would be human rights?”

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

“Well the actual law itself—interpretation would be one thing—but the law itself still requires; although as a general rule you cannot enter a person’s home without a warrant and you can’t stop and search somebody nor can you just go and ask for a warrant to go into somebody’s private place. I’m saying that the law as a general principle is that to stop your vehicle and to search you and to search your person, the police must have reasonable grounds otherwise it is an unlawful search and an unreasonable interference with your privacy and so on. Under the Crime Control Act, they may enter without a warrant because remember now this is a specialized situation where they are claiming that the crime situation is so out of control in particular areas that they are doing certain thigns. But when one reads the law, generally, the police are still required to as much as possible follow those main principles of law.”

According to Bradley, the British implemented a similarly harsh strategy when it was battling the Irish Republic Army which had used bombs against the British.

Channel 5


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#450349 - 11/03/12 12:35 PM Re: Minster Saldivar: New crime fighting measures [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Weak areas such as prosecution branch and investigation to be bolstered

The new crime strategy will certainly bring more arrests, but will it bring more convictions? With only twenty-six arrests for the hundred plus murders that occurred last year, even if all suspects were convicted, the conviction rate would still be dismal. But the Ministry intends to strengthen intelligence gathering, investigation and the police prosecution branch.

 

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“The Ministry of National Security acknowledges that the three weakest areas in the police department continues to be intelligence gathering, investigation and prosecution. The major crime and their frequent spikes like that one we are currently experiencing has drawn much of our resources and attention to the everyday policing patrolling and crime prevention efforts. In prosecution, for example, core reasons for the weaknesses include: a lack of training; routinely transferring the most skilled prosecutors from the department once they are promoted from sergeants; inadequate supervision and review of case files prior to hearing; inadequate preparation and follow up with witnesses; resources such as transportation and computers to aide in efficient delivery of services. It is clear that if we do not treat prosecution as a career department and allow for skilled prosecutors at all ranks to be maintained in the department, it will continue to lose the benefit of our specially trained personnel. It is with this in mind that the cabinet recently approved the hiring of an attorney to head the prosecution branch. And current police prosecutors will be asked to decide if they want to permanently stay in prosecution or return to regular police duties. We are determined to fix the police prosecution branch. Going hand in hand with prosecution is investigation. In an era where the public has lost fate in the justice system, one in which witnesses frequently recant their statements due to intimidation or far worse are murdered; more reliance must be placed on intelligence investigations and the tools must be secured to enable such. Presently the investigations department has at their disposal, a scenes of crime department, a crime information management database, a fingerprint identification system, cell phone and sim-card diagnostic equipment, computer forensic tools, a small network of cameras and most recently—courtesy of the Canadians—the most advanced ballistic forensic equipment available. A DNA lab is soon to be added to this list.”

 

Saldivar also mentioned that the police has also implemented its Christmas special duties program early this year. That means an increase in about twenty-five percent more police and B.D.F. personnel will be on the streets. They won’t be there just to catch the gunmen, but they will also arrest people who commit quality of life crimes.

Channel 5


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