PHILIPSBURG:— Information and information exchange is considered a key aspect in modern day law enforcement. So says the Law Enforcement Council in a recent report on the issue of information exchange between organizations of the judicial chain.
In its report, the Council indicates that there is much ground to be covered in this field. Organizations forming the judicial chain handle their own information cautiously while sharing of information is faced with a lack of mutual trust.
The lack of discipline to register information still seems structural, notes the report. Worrisome is the delay of government decision for investments in a software based information system that will facilitate both efficiency in investigations as for the operations of organizations as a whole.
Currently, searching and matching of data is still done manually while there are systems available that have highly automated this process. Sint Maarten is staying behind with modern development while organized crime is highly modernized.
The Council thus recommends to stimulate the cooperation within and outside of the judicial chain and to invest in adequate means, technical facilities and IT infrastructure.
The Council commends the work of the Info Unit and advises to maintain the process of improvements being made there. Furthermore, it is recommended to establish a working process to collect, register and process information, according to the Council’s report.
Furthermore the Council sees possibilities to make the process of interregional information exchange within the Kingdom more efficient. The need for requesting legal assistance does not always seem necessary. A lack of guidelines, policies, structure and knowledge leads to this aspect remaining vague and relatively unexplored.
The question of whether or not the process can be made simpler dominates the discussion on this subject.
Another issue that is brought up in the report is that the law prescribes the exchange of information between the Kingdom countries as mandatory, while the organizations themselves consider this as a voluntary option. The Council advises to analyze these findings and to establish a structured framework within the Kingdom.
In Sint Maarten, the exchange of information on an international level is considered more important than with countries within the Kingdom. This is particularly so for the French side of St. Maarten. The effects of the recently enacted treaty between France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands specifically established that the judicial cooperation between Sint Maarten / Saint Martin would be monitored with interest.
Contrary to the exchange within the Kingdom, the international exchange of information is not mandatory. Mutual relations are therefore a key aspect. The Council has found that the international relations are well established and considered as mutually beneficial.
Although acknowledged in the judicial chain, information exchange does not appear to be structural while guidance and statistical data are missing. The Council emphasizes on the importance of working towards a structural framework.
The full report, including an executive summary, can be found on the website of the Council www.raadrechtshandhaving.com.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Law Enforcement Council: Registering and exchanging of police information in combating crime is vital.