During the Weekly Press Briefing at his office, on April 7, 2022, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis announced a number of steps his government is taking immediately to reduce the proliferation of illegal weapons on streets in The Bahamas.
“We will increase police presence in hot spots with saturation patrols for as long as they are necessary,” Prime Minister Davis said. “Our communities need more manpower and more resources.”
“The Royal Bahamas Police Force is creating a specialized Task Force focused on decreasing gang-related crimes and apprehending those involved in firearms trafficking,” he added.
Prime Minister Davis noted that his government was expanding Urban Renewal to strengthen both community policing and the programmes that reach at-risk young people and provide pathways to opportunities and training.
“We will increase access to mental health services and mental health education through our public health system and community-based initiatives,” he said.
“In recent weeks, we have reintroduced School-Based Policing, so that our schools are safer for all of our children, teachers and staff,” he added. “We need to work harder and earlier to identify at-risk students and then provide education, support, conflict resolution skills and redirection.”
Prime Minister Davis revealed that, in the upcoming few days, he intended to constitute the National Security Council, which will support increased sharing of intelligence across agencies, allowing The Bahamas to confront its security challenges jointly and with the best information possible.
“And, because criminal activities are not contained by borders, we intend to strengthen our collaboration with international partners as well,” he pointed out. Prime Minister Davis noted that the Royal Bahamas Police Force was continuing to recruit new officers to the frontlines.
“We are looking for young people who want to serve their country by protecting our communities,” he said.
“Technology is an important part of policing in the 21 st century,” he added. “We are going to expand and improve the use of drones, CCTV, and ShotSpotter sensors so that our police have the tools they need to be effective.”
“More robust intelligence-sharing, increasing the capacity of the police, and enhanced technology are all critical — but in the end, reducing violence in our communities also requires strengthening our families and the ties within our communities.”
Prime Minister Davis shared how “profoundly disturbed” he was about the many cases of violence that target women and children.
He said: “We should all agree on this one thing: grown men should stay away from children and should be punished to the fullest extent of our laws when they do not. The sentences should punish the wrong-doing and be lengthy enough to deter others from committing the same crimes. Where existing penalties may not be severe enough, I have asked my Attorney General to lead a comprehensive overview and to advise my Cabinet of the steps we can take to make those stronger.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that Bahamians deserved safer streets, schools, and communities; and that all have a role to play.
“For those of you who despair but who believe the problem is someone else’s to solve – I urge you to get involved,” he said. “Volunteer in your neighborhood. Look out for each other’s children.
Pray together, and then outside the church’s walls, work together, to help those who are in crisis,” Prime Minister Davis added. “Mentor and support our young people.
“It has been such a difficult few years. We can all work together to lift each other up.”