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Maritime assets not cutting it; Commissioner requests more money for protective gear

Providenciales, 07 Jul 2015 – The Marine patrol unit is agreed as under prepared for what they may face when confronting sloops loaded with frightened and desperate illegals and brazen poachers on the open Atlantic Ocean; but the Commissioner of Police, James Smith aimed to assure the officers are safe.

Deandrea Hamilton, Magnetic Media: “Are they safe out there?”

James Smith: “We have tactics that we deploy to make sure that our officers are safe, and we have an international responsibility to make sure that people on the high seas are safe. So it is a dual thing.

We definitely work very hard to make sure that our officers are not put into danger. One of the bids I made today, for instance was for new protective body armour. The stuff we have is old, they don’t stand the test of time; they do degrade. Cabinet has agreed, that today as far as I am aware, it’s not 100% but it seems in general that it will be provided. That is but one thing. In the coming bids to government, we will make bids for bigger and better boats, because the platform required to safely interdict people at sea is not cutting it here in the TCI. We do the best with what we’ve got, could it be better? Yes a whole lot. Would I take a frigate from the (UK) Navy or a cutter from the US Coast Guard, absolutely but these are really big sums of money.”

The Police will get more money if a budget supplementary is approved by the UK and passed in the House of Assembly.

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