Saturday, January 30, 2010


** Typical rural wooden shack police station. Though nowadays they are being replaced with cement buildings.
*** One of many major police stations.
** Police national HIGH BRASS, owned, appointed and controlled by the political party in power. They are not elected chiefs by citizens in towns and geographical areas.
** police with modern car that doesn't last long. Only less than a year they say.

BELIZE POLICE SYSTEM CONTINUES IN THE BRUTAL POLITICIZED CHAOTIC MODEL OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE COLONIAL MODEL. The following article was posted on the Belize Culture Debating list serve by FLASHPOINT and copied here. Author unknown!

Well written, this is an accurate description of the Caribbean English speaking countries who continue this monarchist brutal colonial police system. Where mostly the poor are policed, the rich and the political levels are never sent to jail for anything. This is an oppressive police system, brutal, beatings, whippings and torture the norm to get confessions.

Crooks, Crime & Cussedness

Posted by:flashpoint 1/28/2010 12:00:00 AM
The Opposition’s response to the crime situation has been the boilerplate, politics-as-usual approach to call for the resignation of the Minister of National Security as if someone from the government or opposition benches could do a better job.
Crooks, Crime & Cussedness

I thought at first it was a joke: the Commissioner of Police saying at a press conference that criminals were deliberately ramping up crime at the end of 2009 to make him look bad; so crime stats for 2009 could look as bad as in 2008.

It’s difficult to decide which is more dispiriting: his honest belief that criminals were sending up stats or his belief that the department’s interpretation of its statistics was of real value to the evaluation of crime in Belize City.

So what if the crime stats at the end of 2009 were marginally better than in 2008? Would that have been due to better policing and crime prevention or bad weather that kept criminals indoors for more days in 2009 than in 2008?

People feel that their personal security is in greater jeopardy because it is. There is an increase in daytime assassinations, random and targeted grenade attacks and the ratio of unsolved crime to solved ones.

The recent threat by the Belize Association of Principals of Secondary Schools, following the killing of a spectator at a high school football match, to discontinue high school sporting events if security could not be enhanced signaled that the fear for personal security has crept onto and bivouacked itself on hitherto safe ground.

Hardly had the hot air from the meeting of rival gang leaders dissipated than another grenade exploded in the pre-dawn of January 11th shattering the stillness as well as the fragile truce of the gangs.

But not even this fifth grenade blast was powerful enough to shake Belizeans from their deep, sub-terranean apathy.

The public’s reaction to news of the fifth blast was as nonchalant as if it were counting the exploding grenades to the preschool lyrics “Ten green bottles hanging on the wall”.

Gangland’s power to detonate grenades against random citizens in Belize City at a place and time of its choosing without the security forces being able to do anything about it is the quintessence of terrorism and the high watermark of personal insecurity.

The Opposition’s response to the crime situation has been the boilerplate, politics-as-usual approach to call for the resignation of the Minister of National Security as if someone from the government or opposition benches could do a better job.

It seems idle and nonsensical for the Opposition to demand that the government make public the year-old Crooks report on the police department.
Instead it should have taken the initiative as well as the high ground by analyzing the Crooks report, informing the people and advising the government how to forge an action plan out of Mr. Crooks’ recommendations.

The Crooks report should be compulsory reading for those engaged in law enforcement. Its indictment of the Belize Police Department is severe and comprehensive. But neither the police nor the current government is to blame. Blame it on years of neglect and lack of policy direction.

Crooks finds that the Crime Investigation Branch (CIB) lacks the infrastructural capacity to investigate and interdict complex crime and dangerous criminals, lacks intelligence-led policing and forensics and uses obsolete case file preparation methods.

“Doubling the number of boots on the ground in Belize City”, as called for by the Opposition, brings little value added if, as Crooks finds, 68% of these recruits have only been to primary school, are not properly character-screened, poorly paid, poorly trained and therefore unmotivated.

The magnitude of the problem thus begins to emerge making it difficult to not treat with contempt shallow, thoughtless statements about crime whether coming from the Commissioner, the Government or the Opposition.

Crooks makes the point that what is needed is not necessarily more resources but adjustments to meet new challenges like trained surveillance units to gather intelligence. He noted then that the levels of patrols of Belize City’s Southside was unsustainable “so an array of more effective crime attack techniques” had to be employed to suppress the murder rate.

More boots on the ground could translate into more poorly educated, intimidated, freshmen police officers amenable to bribes and further muddling matters. The security framework has to be strategic and not purely tactical.

The police training syllabus, he finds, has failed in developing officers who are “self-directed, accountable, ethical, self-disciplined and service oriented.”

As for those precious crime stats, Crooks reports that “vital criminal statistics are filed away without disaggregation” and “criminal bio-data remains uncollected due to outdated forms which guide data collection.”

Crooks thinks the leadership of the police department cannot effectively guide it because it is too distant from the lower ranks engaged in police service delivery.

Neither can the police leadership’s cognitive power improve if it relies for training on short term technical courses being offered by countries through Technical Assistance Programs rather than a sustained training program designed to fit the specific needs of the department.

Skepticism is rarely as sweeping and sobering as this: “The widespread rhetoric of modernization is paralleled by deteriorating police service delivery” and “there is an unrecognized crisis of indiscipline among constables and corporals” who are the frontline providers of police services.

“Neighborhood watches are declining”, he noted, at a time when community involvement is most needed. A picture of gross waste, poor security and negligence is painted in relation to the use and safeguarding of the physical resources of the department.

Certification in firearm use and first aid is haphazard while living and working conditions are below minimum tolerable levels at police substations.

The overall picture is of a police department hopelessly outmoded, undisciplined, poorly trained, disconnected and lacking adequate leadership. To quote directly, the police’s managerial culture is characterized by “rhetoric, symbolic manipulation and scape-goating, a crumbling structure of managed police service delivery, uninspiring leadership and increasing corrupt practices”.

How then, I ask, can such a department reform and reorganize itself and understand, prioritize, budget for and write an action plan for the implementation of Mr. Crooks’ recommendations for the transformation of itself?

Before Crooks, there was Carl. The Carl Holmes report of 1997. It was anesthetized to death by cheap talk and inaction. Crooks’ report is deeper and more comprehensive but hardly immune from the same fate. The better the report the quicker its death due to the sheer formidably of its implementation.

The Crooks report is inherently bedeviled by the sheer magnitude of what needs to be done, where to begin, how to prioritize and how to pay for it.

The implementation team for the Crooks report is headed by the Compol and the CEO of the Ministry of National Security supported by two senior police officers and a staff officer from the ministry. The Compol, CEO and senior police officers have neither the time nor the skill to organize and deliver the Crooks recommendations which is now one year old.

The project implementation has to be lead full-time by a highly motivated, energized individual with superior organizational and managerial skills shuttling between law enforcement entities, the public and the Cabinet.

The Crimes Control Council should stand down from whatever it is it thinks it is doing and be asked to dedicate all of its available time, energies and resources to supporting a real project implementation team for the Crooks report.

If the Opposition really wants to be helpful it should first study and understand the Crooks report, present its ideas for a prioritized, budgeted action plan and ask to participate in the project implementation to ensure that it is truly a bipartisan national effort.

In the meantime, the Crooks report inches, with each passing month, toward that inscrutable black hole in Belmopan City where countless, voluminous reports have been swallowed up, undigested and added to the waste that fertilizes the public sector’s paralysis of action.

The only things I could add to that, would be that vigilante justice is becoming more the norm. Indeed, often the only recourse to achieving justice in Belize. Hired killers can be hired over in Guatemala for $300 a pop.

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