ANGUILLA–Commissioner of the Royal Anguilla Police Force (RAPF), Paul Morrison, on Tuesday, January 30, welcomed the media and introduced some of his key staff. He felt it important to visually display the weapons recovered from the street, some of which were used in robberies and murder and others obtained through intelligence-led policing.
There were additional weapons not displayed due to active investigations.
He said the focus and priority of the RAPF since 2016 had been serious crime. New ballistic capability in the Forensics Department allows enhanced detailed examination of the seized weapons, and there is an ongoing effort to see if the weapons are linked to crimes other than those at which they were seized.
Morrison stated that the displayed weapons taken off the street had presented a clear danger to the people of Anguilla in that they are easily concealable. There were 12 pistols, three revolvers, two assault rifles and one .22 rifle along with several hundred rounds of ammunition for various firearms that had been seized during the execution of searches on premises across the island.
“These guns can be easily concealed and are very deadly and we have been working very hard to have illegal guns taken off the street,” said Morrison. “The Royal Anguilla Police Force with its commitment to reducing crime and the incidence of crime is tackling gun crime as a priority.” He appealed to the public to report persons who they know have firearms, and asked persons having firearms to turn them in to the police before they are used in a crime. He went on to say that the first priority of the police is to tackle serious crime and they will be focused on pursuing intelligence to make more seizures and will seek to prosecute and penalise persons using these weapons to cause harm.
The Commissioner then fielded a variety of questions from the press covering areas ranging from a recent murder to the rise of gang culture. He credited techniques and processes developed over the past two years used by his detectives, which enabled them to identify possible suspects in a recent murder and make charges. He elaborated on increased training criteria being mandated for detectives which has increased their overall capabilities.
In response to questions related to gang culture and violence on the island, he stated that since 2006, gang numbers have increased; they are aware of five gangs and three organised crime groups. Gang membership has in the past been more territorial versus commodity-based although that may now be changing. The police realise that one of the challenges is to prevent youngsters from falling into this culture and are meeting with the schools to look at how they can divert youngsters away from gang life.
Anguilla works very closely with the intelligence communities in both French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten in the sharing of information which has led to the recovery of arms and ammunition on both islands as well as other commodities. When asked about human trafficking, he stated that the first human-trafficking case was recently worked and trafficking charges were brought to the Court for the first time in recent history.