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Apr 20, 2020

Is the Release of Gang Figures during the COVID-19 S.O.E. Stretching Police Resources?

Chester Williams

But while the released gang members appear to be keeping the peace, their release from prison has put an added pressure on the Belize Police Department during the State of Emergency. Commissioner Chester Williams says, however, that while it stretches the police resources, the officers have stepped up to the challenge.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“We do have to continue to monitor the gang situation. We know that while they were in prison we didn’t have much to monitor, only the few who were out. With them out now, then we have to look at the entire gang landscape with a view to see what we can do to minimize the activities. I would hope that whatever commitment they made they will live up to it. I don’t want it to be a police issue. CYDP is working with them because from police stand point there is no room for negotiation. If there is any to be done, let CYDP do that and we the police will come down with the law when the need arises. So, now we have to look at policing the state of emergency regulations as well as looking at the normal crime situation that we are normally accustomed to. I would hope that is going to change and we will become more accustomed now to a more peaceful city moving forward from here.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“With these gang members now out and the police playing such a critical role in enforcing the state of emergency, does this put any pressure at all on policing resources?”

 

Chester Williams

“Of course it does because we have to focus on the gang situation and the state of emergency regulations. So, there is significant pressure on us in terms of ensuring that we police every aspect of society and human resource is an issue. But our officers continue to come to work but I am happy to say that at this time we are seeing far less officers reporting sick and you would expect that you would see more. So, it shows that our officers are committed to see our country get out of this situation.”

 

Reporter

“People known to the police being out attempting to commit any crime, you are not seeing that?”

 

Chester Williams

“No. We are not seeing much of those. We do have a few burglaries, one or two, but not much during this time. You know we can’t cork every hole and people will try to find whatever opening there is to go and try and commit crime. But in terms of criminal activities it has been extremely minimal and we want to ensure that it is kept that way.”


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