The RCIPS commenced its holiday season operations with its annual Winter Guardian campaign, from 1 December through 4 January, which was put in place to help keep the community safe over the busy festive season, with increased police presence in specific areas. The campaign focused on road and community safety initiatives, particularly speeding, drunk driving and policing the night time economy.
Over New Year’s weekend, police were pleased to report a decrease in serious incidents compared to the same period last year, and another holiday season with no traffic fatalities. “We thank the public for showing greater restraint and caution when driving, and for prioritising alternate ways to get home when out drinking, particularly over New Year’s Eve night, Friday 31st December”, says Head of the Traffic and Road Policing Unit, Inspector Dwayne Jones. “We also want to thank the 17 new police recruits and Special Constables who diligently assisted the traffic and road policing unit with their operations over the festive season”.
New Year’s Eve weekend prosecutions included, 15 speeding tickets, three DUI, one disqualified driver, 19 expired registration, 20 tint, six cell phone and attendance to 15 MVA’s.
“Prosecutions from the first weekend of December, indicated that we may likely follow the same trend as previous years, but the proceeding weekends prosecutions levelled out, and overall we have seen less serious roading incidents than previous years” says Inspector Jones. “Even though these numbers are a positive move in the right direction, it doesn’t take away from the fact that already, in the first week of the new year, police have attended a serious collision on Monday, resulting in three persons being taken to hospital, with one still in a critical condition. Followed by a fatality on Thursday, where a man succumbed to his injuries and a women remains in critical condition in hospital”.
“We have also seen an increase in hit and run incidents on the road, which is concerning. Not only is it highly irresponsible to leave the scene of an incident, particularly if people are injured, but there can be serious consequences if you are found to have ‘hit and run’, says Inspector Jones.
Police responded to a number of burglaries that occurred over the festive season – with commercial premises targeted over residential. “This is something we are not surprised to see at this time of year, as opportunistic thieves target establishments after busy festive season events and activities, says Ag. Superintendent Brad Ebanks. For this reason we strongly encourage premises to remove any large sums of cash each night, ensure all windows and doors are securely locked, and ensure you have working CCTV running inside and outside your premises.”
No incidents involving firearms were reported over the festive season, but there were a number of wounding incidents involving sharp weapons. “More often than not, these incidents take place between persons who have consumed too much alcohol”, says Ag. Superintendent Ebanks. “We want to remind the public that carrying an offensive weapon, such as a machete or knife, is an offence. What can often start off as a disagreement between persons can quickly escalate when weapons are introduced, and the result can have devastating effects, whether it be life threatening injuries or a deadly confrontation”.
While individual incidents are generally not reported publicly, the large number of domestic incidents the police attended should also be acknowledged. “We know that the festive season, although joyous for many, can be a real struggle for others and we see the result of these pressures within the domestic incidents we attend”, says Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay. “Abuse and violence in the home is not acceptable, particularly when children are involved. We encourage anyone dealing with abuse in the home to tell someone you trust, and seek help from the many services within the community that can support you, including the police. And if you are in fear of yours and your children’s safety, please do not hesitate to call 911”.