Today Commissioner of Police Chester Williams met with all commanders from formations countrywide. They gathered at the Belmopan Training Academy for another edition of the Computer Statistics Briefing COMSTAT. The commanders discussed the crime figures for the first quarter of the year and how they will bolster their collective response to crime. Now as it relates to the number so far, Commissioner Chester Williams says it's not that bad but there is definitely more work to be done.

Chester Williams - Commissioner of Police
"I can say from the first quarter our figures are looking quite well, yes it is not where we want it to be and as the commissioner I demand a lot from my people, after all you would know that the public demand a lot from us and it is our duty that we respond adequately to that demand so when we look at the overall murder count for this year we are at 31 compared to 46 for the same period last year, that is a reduction of 15 and when we compare it to the year 2017 we are also down by 9 and then when we compare it to 2016 we are down by 4 so our record so far is quite well but i do believe it could have been better and that is where we are focusing our attention with the commanders today to see how we can address the causes of these murders. When we look at the other crime categories, our figures are down across the country."

The police have partnered with Alternative Network Solutions to install 6 cameras in each town countrywide. This is part of the department's move towards tackling crime with technology.

Now the department is focusing on three main types of crimes, one major one being crimes due to alcohol consumption. There have been a number of violent crimes and even fatal accidents as a result of drunkenness. The police are aware of this pattern and say they will address it.

Chester Williams - Commissioner of Police
"So far you have heard what our 2019/2020 crime fighting strategy entails it is built on 3 pillars: gang violence, alcohol consumption and domestic violence. Since the year began we have been going at those 3 pillars and I have been harping to my people to focus on these pillars and we have done well in dealing with the murders that are gang related and also those of a domestic nature but the elephant in the room now are the murders that emanate from alcohol consumption and of the 31 murders we have so far this year 13 area as a result of alcohol consumption so you see where the problem lies and my thing to the commanders is to see how we can go more aggressively at these establishments where alcohol is sold. If it is that we truly want to reduce the murder count, we have to focus on alcohol consumption, yes it is a legal thing to drink but the least we ask is when you drink you control yourself and go home."

"There are many establishments that operate under certain categories of liquor license and those establishments do not meet the legal criteria for license and I am saying again to my commanders that they need to collaborate more with the local liquor licensing board and see how they can work together in reducing these types of establishments within the respective area of operation, yes the liquor licensing board is the authority but the police are the enforcers of the law and so if it is that the issue of license that goes against the legal requirements then we are going to step in and close them down and if it is that the proprietors are dissatisfied with that they can take us to court. Again we have not touched on road traffic accidents that results from alcohol consumption, if we were to add the road fatalities to the 13 figure you will see we would be significantly up."

The police say they will also enforce the law on public drinking. Again, as it relates to the statistics, crime in the southside of Belize city has decreased. 

Channel 7