200 Bulletproof vests underway

POSTED: 09/18/15 12:53 PM

Justice groupMinister of Justice Dennis Richardson, Police Chief Peter de Witte and Head of the Immigration Border Patrol Udo Aron at the Justice Day activity this year. Photo Today / Andrew Dick

St. Maarten – Police officers will have 200 bulletproof vests at their disposal within the next two weeks Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson said yesterday. The vests were ordered after the minister received the green light from the Council of Ministers to beef up the protection. The minister has already implemented several safety measures.

Richardson says that some measures do not need the approval of parliament. “We have implemented the changes and more will follow in the coming weeks. The bullet proof vests are coming within two weeks. We have ordered them for some time now and they are finally on their way,” Richardson stated.

Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson confirmed that immigration, Customs and police officers are working in teams for some weeks now. The assistance is part of the new safety measures implemented after the shooting of Police Sergeant Gamali Benjamin. Special focus is given to the Philipsburg vicinity.

Minister Richardson signed a protocol with The Hague at the end of May that covers the strengthening of the justice system. Minister Plasterk (Kingdom Relations) has made €22 million available for the deployment of 55 detectives that are to investigate corruption.

There are some measures that the minister is still working on, like filling twenty vacancies in the police force. Legislation and policies will also be adapted to ban the use of motorbikes, scooters and quads, which the minister feels is the preferred means of transportation of criminals, from Front Street, Back Street, Cannegieter Street and all associated side streets.

Establishing checkpoints, carrying out preventative searches and executing joint controls in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies such as the Customs and the immigration department are other measures.

The Ministry of Justice will research the possibility of the establishing compulsory security measures that have to be taken by all businesses. Public/private partnerships will be pursued and established towards the strengthening of security measures, Minister Richardson said. The Customs Department and the Coast Guard will increase their focus on combating the illegal import of weapons.

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