Increases in recorded sexual offenses demonstrate that the public have more confidence in the police, a senior police official has said.
Major Crime Unit Superintendent George Nicolas of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) said more people are coming forward to report such crimes.
Superintendent Nicolas was responding to questions posed to him by the local media today, Thursday (Nov.12) with regards to the increase in sexual offenses over the past few weeks.
Police said almost 60 cases of rape have been reported since the start of the year.
“We have had specific departments dealing primarily with those cases and those persons are dedicated and well trained officers. They have demonstrated their ability to deal with those matters, so I suppose that translates to people having more confidence in our ability to deal with them, so they come forward more often to report,” Superintendent Nicolas said.
Asked whether the police plans to reinforce its loitering policy so as to protect school children from becoming the next group of victims of rape, Nicolas said the police will approach the issue holistically and will not target one specific group, emphasizing that it has become a national issue that concerns every group.
“So while we will take into consideration the school children, we have other vulnerable groups we have to be mindful of and everybody could be a potential victim,” the senior police official added.
Superintendent Nicolas said the issue also requires other agencies, organisations and communities across the island to come together with the police to help solve these crimes.
He said, “I don’t think anybody has raised their child to become a rapist or criminal. But you know it starts from the home, to the church, the groups and the clubs. We all have to come together to have a solid grip on this problem.”
It was also noted that all the reported cases of rape are being actively pursued, but the police has urged members of the public who have any information with regards to these cases, to come forward with it.
In response to concerns about whether there are programmes to help rehabilitate perpetrators of sex crimes, the police said the Bordelais Correctional Facility has programmes in place to assist in that regard.
The matter of creating a sex offenders registry was also brought to the fore, but the police said that has to be a policy decision before any such system is put in place.