Caribbean police commissioners are meeting in Cayman this week to improve the effectiveness of regional policing in response to the changing threats from transnational crime.
In opening the 34th meeting of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police, RCIPS Commissioner Derek Byrne called the theme of the event “a formidable task” in itself.
“It is precisely why we as a collective body of regional police and law enforcement leaders and industry partners come together as key influencers to review current threats, risks and challenges and to assess the impact on regional safety and security,” he said.
As new technologies allow criminal enterprises to become increasingly sprawling networks, traditional crimes have given way to more sophisticated, technical and multifaceted crimes that cross borders and require law enforcement agencies in the Caribbean to collaborate.
“Law enforcement regionally must adopt a more networked structure to disrupt and dismantle these criminal enterprises,” Byrne noted.
Knowing the adversaries and understanding how they are organized was key to developing a sound response to safety and security challenges. But following the money, confiscating criminal assets and dismantling criminal enterprises also required a new type of highly trained and educated police officer with a completely new set of skills, the commissioner added.
The annual conference brings together senior law enforcement policymakers, security professionals, government officials and industry partners to discuss crime and security challenges across the region.
First day speakers from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the investigations arm of the Department of Homeland Security underlined the critical nature of cross-border cooperation in dealing with drug trafficking and cybercrime.
FBI agent Scott Rottman said that as drug shipments originating from South America move North, they are broken down into smaller quantities which are more difficult to track. Most drug deliveries are transported by boat across the Pacific to Mexico. Less than a quarter of the illicit drug movements tracked by US law enforcement are going through the Caribbean.
Caribbean police commissioners meet for the 34th annual conference of their regional organisation at the Marriott Beach Resort this week, to find ways of improving the efficiency of their cooperation.
However, Caribbean partner nations in the maritime interdiction effort had contributed about 39% of the approximately 33 metric tons of illicit drugs that were seized in 2018.