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Fingerprinting to become a Reality in St. Lucia

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006 – The percentage of undetected crimes on the island, it is hoped, will be reduced considerably with the purchase of an EC $750, 000 automated fingerprinting system for St. Lucia.

In making the disclosure on budget day, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny said government's investments in the security of Saint Lucia have been substantial, particularly in the fight against crime.

“The problem has to be addressed because there is no greater invasion of one’s privacy and security, than burglary. The loss of confidence is palpable and understandable. The fact is the detection rate for robberies and burglaries is less than 10 percent. All kinds of explanations have been offered for this ridiculously low detection rate. The police argue that the manual system of fingerprint identification is inefficient and ineffective,” said Prime Minister Anthony.

The fingerprinting system, he said, will be complimented by a forensic science laboratory now under construction at Tapion. The facility which is being constructed at just over three million dollars is expected to be opened in December.

“Mr. Speaker, this Government has always given its commitment to do all within its powers to address the level of crime in Saint Lucia, and this facility represents a critical component in moving that process forward. It is an expensive but significant step in the fight against crime,” said Dr. Anthony.

Meantime government will continue its programme to increase the number of police officers in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. Currently 65 recruits are undergoing training and are expected to graduate in July this year. On completion of this training cycle, a further 60 recruits will enter the Police Training Academy.

The Prime Minister said these interventions, coupled with the acquisition of more police vehicles, operational and communications equipment, is an indication of the seriousness with which his Government views the fight against crime.

The Prime Minister also announced that St. Lucia will be hiring help from the British Police Force to aid the country in its crime fighting strategies and to develop capacity within the police force.

St. Lucia will become the third country in the region to adopt this measure, following in the footsteps of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

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