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Reformed Criminals Part of Crime Fighting Efforts

Reformed criminals are going to be put to good use.

Local crime fighters are hoping to use ex-offenders as part of an anti-crime strategy that places less emphasis on detection and prosecution and more on prevention.

“There are men and some women in our town, who themselves have been involved in criminal activity, who are committed to assisting us in the ministry by gathering information on our behalf and helping us identify situations,” National Security

Minister, Dr. Bernard Nottage said during a press conference on Tuesday.

“This is one of the initiatives we’ll be introducing in the not too distant future – using people who are reformed criminals to assist us in seeking to prevent young people from engaging in criminal activity.”

But Dr. Nottage acknowledged that this will be a big challenge.

“We have to be careful how we do it, but it’s something that has been used in other jurisdictions. We believe that with the right monitoring and proper selection, this could be a winner for us,” he said.

Officials continue to stress the importance of everyone getting on board in attacking the country’s crime woes.

In fact, it’s the thinking behind Thursday’s listening forum to be held under the theme,” Operation Ceasefire.”

“The government appreciates that a small group of policymakers and technocrats do not have all the answers and that the fight against crime must be a national effort,” the minister explained.

“It is therefore reaching out to civil society in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect to receive suggestions on how to address the challenges we face.”

The forum will bring together all law enforcement agencies including the commissioner of police, the commodore of the Defence Force, the superintendent of Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP), the director of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the director of immigration as well as the comptroller of customs.

“If a solution is a practical one and it can be implemented, this would be done immediately,” Dr. Nottage told reporters yesterday.

“Some things may be very costly and if we don’t have plans for them in our budget, we’d have to make provisions for them. I would like to have an instant response to positive suggestions to the extent that it’s possible.”

The listening forum takes place on St. Joseph’s Community Centre, Boyd Road at 7:30 p.m.

The government’s anti-crime initiatives come at a time when the country’s homicide count continue to soar, a backlog of criminal cases still clog the judicial system and hundreds of Bahamians are behind bars.

As part of its arsenal of crime fighting tools, phase one of a national closed circuit television (CCTV) is nearing completion.

The 243 cameras are being strategically installed in criminal hot spots at a cost $5 million.

“When fully operational, these will go a long way in detecting and deterring criminal activities,” said the minister, who expressed hope that the project would be fully launched by the end of next month.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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