More than 50 people turned out for
a meeting with police at the Bodden Town Primary School hall Tuesday evening.
The gathering was fuelled by residents’
concerns about the high number of robberies island-wide and worries that
similar crimes would gravitate to the Bodden Town area.
Residents were assured by Eastern
Districts area Commander Martin Bodden that the relatively small spate of
robberies in the community were being addressed by the police, and most of the
people involved had been arrested and charged, while other incidents were under
Other issues raised by residents
were: police conduct and behaviour in dealing with the public; a proposed
curfew for young adults; speeding along the Anton Bodden Bypass Road, alongside
the Bodden Town Primary School; businesses and homeowners getting licensed firearms
to protect establishments; and firearms sentencing.
Addressing residents’ questions,
Police Commissioner David Baines said it was up to the judge to make the final
call on firearms sentencing, and when it came to lack of police
professionalism, he encouraged residents to report these instances to the Police
Department so they could be investigated.
He also outlined his priorities,
including the department’s aim to place more focus on improving public access
to and confidence in the RCIPS; more comfortable and customer-focused
surroundings at Walkers Road facility; a one-stop-shop for records and
licensing enquiries; revising the police shift patterns with 20 per cent more
officers on the street every day; and addressing the issue of taking more guns
off the streets.
Few homeowners attending the
meeting were concerned about having permission to own guns. One person voiced
objections to homeowners having firearms. He said that from what he had read
and heard, people were dying as a result of having firearms in the home.
Commissioner Baines was joined by a
panel, which consisted of Commander Bodden, Health Minister Mark Scotland, and
Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam.
Residents were also given brochures
with the list of neighbourhood officers and their contact information, as well
as information on street skills, proper driving; burglary prevention and drug
and alcohol use.
The group was also given
ultra-violet or invisible marking pens to record personal information in the
event of stolen or lost property.
Commander Bodden said the pen
marking could only be seen with UV light and was an effective way of
identifying property, valuables and assisting with recovery.
Mr. Bodden said he was pleased at
the response from residents in assisting the police with areas of concern.
Bodden Town MLA’s Dwyane Seymour
and Anthony Eden were also in attendance. Mr. Eden commented on the great
turnout of residents and the lively and engaging discussion of questions and
answers put forth by police and residents.