Following the recent fire at Helena Jones Robinson High School (HJRHS) on Grand Turk, there has been rumor and speculation about the cause of that fire, some acts of vandalism and a perceived link to the deployment of Police Officers in the nation’s capital.
Decisions about the numbers and use of officers are always contentious. These decisions are only taken following extensive internal consultation and careful consideration by the Force Executive Team. Our aim is always to ensure that we make the best use of resources and target our efforts to maximum effect. From time to time, this can create a perception of ‘winners’ and losers’ in the eyes of the public and a belief that they are, or are about to suffer a diminished service.
In relation to Grand Turk we considered a number of significant factors that influenced our decision making; it is the nation’s capital and seat of Government; it receives a large influx of visitors when cruise ships dock; citizens deserve an effective police presence commensurate with crime patterns and social conditions and that police numbers must reflect the volume of calls for assistance received.
Presently, there are 38 police officers deployed in Grand Turk, which has recently been reduced from a previous deployment of 46. This is a significant number of officers in relation to the size of the resident community.
Police numbers alone are not the solution to many of the issues facing us in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Partnership working and a shared understanding of the challenges and potential solutions is fundamental to making the country safe. Improving the skills of officers and ensuring that they have the tools to carry out their duty is equally important. The officer in charge of the Division is confident that he has the resources required to do the job and whilst we will not reveal actual numbers on patrol at any given time, reports by some media that two officers are on night duty are wide of the mark. Our response time to calls for assistance is very good and reported crime in Grand Turk continues to diminish year on year. Every reported crime is thoroughly investigated and when appropriate specialist officers are called to assist uniform colleagues.
Our enquiries into HJRHS continue, we are following positive leads and the investigation is progressing, but I would urge anyone with information that may assist us to make contact with any police officer.
Commissioner of Police