May 9, 2023 -PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The Law Enforcement Council (the Council), in its third sub-inspection as part of an overall review on in particular recommendations related to the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM), found that the majority of the recommendations have been followed.
Since 2020 the Council has been conducting sub-inspections to review the status of the follow-up of recommendations from 43 inspection reports published from 2012 up to and including 2018. The first two sub-inspection reports were published in 2021 and 2022 respectively. The current and also third sub-inspection concerns the level of follow-up of the recommendations from four reports on the criminal investigation process of the investigation department, the approach to robberies, criminal seizure and forensic investigation. For the reports on the criminal investigation and criminal seizure, it concerns a second review. This third sub-inspection shows that out of a total of 50 recommendations, 34 recommendations were fully followed, 5 recommendations were partially followed and 11 recommendations were not followed.
State of affairs compliance percentage follow-up recommendations per report
The state of affairs in broader perspective
This third sub-inspection also shows – as in previous inspections – that various basic preconditions are still not being met. This not only hinders compliance with the recommendations, but also hinders the intended improvement of the topics inspected. The (structural) bottlenecks are the already known ones, namely, insufficient material, personnel, and financial resources. The stagnation in the recommendations yet (partly) to be followed up concerns in particular the recommendations where the organizations depend especially on the Ministry of Justice for their follow-up. The Council stresses the importance of both political support and support at the ministerial level in investing in the topics inspected and, by extension, strengthening the criminal enforcement of the democratic rule of law.
In view of the central role of the Ministry of Justice in securing the preconditions and in steering the follow-up of the recommendations to improve the inspected topics, the Council believes that the staffing of the Ministry is indispensable in this respect. In its report, the Council also points out that if Sint Maarten wants a professional and full-fledged police force and, by extension, a well-functioning criminal law enforcement of the democratic rule of law, investments must be made in the police force and other local judicial services. The Council also sees opportunities in the area of a financial mandate for the heads of the different departments. And also encourages the increasingly intensive partnerships, given the growing complex problems of combating crime. Here, too, support from both the ministry and the political arena is an indispensable factor.
The full Dutch and English report, and all other publications of the Council can be found on the website www.raadrechtshandhaving.com.