Consultation aims to produce policies and programmes to reduce crime

The Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit hosted a two-day National Consultation on Violence as a strategic response to crime in the island.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the consultation, which took place at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium yesterday morning, Cheryl Willoughby, Director of the Criminal Justice Unit, expressed that upon completion of the consultation, they hoped to have group discussions where they gather information to inform policy. She noted that they would be producing a working document that is to be used in planning policies and programmes all aimed at reducing crime and balance across Barbados.

“This is not your ordinary talk shop, this is a working consultation. Our research has already identified the criminal risk factors. What we aim to do over the next two days is discuss those risk factors as well as look at the possibility of implementing the recommendations that are highlighted within our research projects,” she said.

“Our objective at the end of the day is to produce a document that we can use as a working document, not only by the Office of the Attorney General, but certainly by other ministries, either locally, regionally or internationally.”

The Director revealed that the department conducted several research projects, measuring the extent and nature of crime in various areas over the past two years, which would be presented that day.

“In recent time, we would have examined homicides, we would have examined gang violence and we would have also looked at offences among our juvenile population. In the upcoming months, we would seek to determine what those criminal risk factors are within particular hotspot communities. We believe that if resources are targeted in specific areas, then resources would be better maximised,” she said.

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Braithwaite believes that having discussions such as the one held yesterday are important.

“Research internationally has shown that where there are gangs, there will be resulting criminal activity, including gun violence. The Caribbean region has witnessed an increase in gun violence over the past ten years, which is threatening the stability and citizen security across the region. This is a situation that cannot go unchecked since gang violence can result in innocent people being injured or killed as a result,” he said.

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