By Ingrid Fernandez, Staff Reporter
The Belize Police Department added 176 new police men and women to its enrolment as it tries to make 2015 the second best year since 2008 in murder statistics.
This year there were 116 murders and Minister of National Security John Saldivar, says he believes that the Department has the crime situation under control. Major crimes have reduced from 2287 at the end of November 2014 to 2027 in 2015. The Department has recorded that since 2008, crimes have been declining from 3126 to what is recorded up to now for this year.
The Department recorded that most deaths took place in the first six months of the year, that was the first 76 murders.
He stated that the amount of murders was significantly reduced, to 40, during the second half of the year.
As the Department records the significant decrease in murders, 167 new police officers join the ranks of the Department, after six months of arduous training at the Belize Police Academy (BPA).
At the passing out ceremony, Saldivar stated that one of the priorities of the Department was to build public confidence in the police. He stated that the Department is cognizant that lack of confidence surmounts any efforts to restore the people’s security. He stated that the Department works hard to ensure that the public trusts in its capacity to protect citizens and ensure justice.
Seven recruits were honored for their outstanding performance during their six months of training.
Diyan Barrera received the first place in First Aid; Cynthia Turner received the first place in human rights; Christian Cawich received the first place in physical training; while female recruit Eleanor Ayala got first place in shooting qualification.
Allan Domingo received the Commandant’s Prize. Marina Dawson was second in Written Exams while Henry Lopez scored the highest marks in that category. Known among his colleagues and supervisors as the most consistent, Lopez also received the highest award at the Academy, the Baton of Honor for his overall performance during training.
Lopez stated that although the training period was tough and filled with injuries and personal struggles, the constant encouragement of the instructors encouraged them to push on.
The core courses taught at the academy, such as traffic laws, criminal law, introduction to law, general police duties, philosophy of the modern policing, meet the demands of the current policing world filled with modern challenges.
The number of police officers in the country has almost doubled from the past year. There are now a total of 2067 police officers in the country. The 176 new police officers will report to their designated police station on Monday.