Further to Mr. Kipling Douglas’ letter of 28 November, it will be quite easy to judge the performance of the new police commissioner. We just need to give him our full support for the next year.
According to the RCIP Annual Report, over the past decade the level of reported crime has averaged 3,200 crimes per year. The worst years have been 2001 and 2002, with reported crimes approaching 4,000 in each year.
On average, in each year the RCIP manages to ‘clear up’ about 75 per cent of crimes reported, although this rate drops to only 60 per cent if drug cases are taken out of the equation. 2002 was a particularly bad year for crime and detection with 3,996 crimes reported and only 54 per cent solved.
It is interesting to note that in 2004 reported crimes dropped to a 10-year low of 2,549, despite the perceived lawlessness that followed in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. However, 2004 also saw the lowest solved rate on record at 46 per cent.
The annual figures also reveal the relative strengths and weaknesses of the police force. Looking at the figures for 2004, the RCIP solved an impressive 88 per cent of drug cases, but only 65 per cent of assaults, 52 per cent of thefts and a disappointing 19 per cent of burglaries.
Those actively involved in the underworld can readily see where the growth opportunities are. The RCIP can also see what it needs to focus on. Burglaries and offences against the person make both the local population and tourists very uneasy and are bad for business.
So the new commissioner has two main issues to address. The first is to ensure that the crime rate continues to fall. The second is to get the RCIP’s successful solution rate back up to the 84 per cent level that was achieved in 2003.
The RCIP 2006 Annual Report will reveal whether he has succeeded.