|Nottage: Police force will not suppress crime data|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Jul 30, 2012
Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade will release crime statistics once he is satisfied they are accurate, said National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage, who added that the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) will “not suppress” crime data.
Nottage’s comments came amid calls for the police commissioner to release data to support an earlier statement that crime for the first half of the year fell by six percent compared to the same period last year. Nottage said the police chief has to be satisfied about the accuracy of the statistics before they are made public.
“He said that he will release them and I presume that he will release them when he’s satisfied that they are accurate,” Nottage told The Nassau Guardian on the sidelines of the Progressive Liberal Party’s Parliamentary Conclave on Thursday. “This is only the seventh month and it’s unusual to be able to get statistics until June 30, to get them on the first of July. They have to be compiled; they have to be verified so that when they are released they are accurate.”
When asked if he thought Greenslade spoke prematurely when he declared that crime was down without producing hard evidence to support the statement, Nottage said, “I don’t think that he has jumped the gun.
“I think that there are indicators, the police are on the job every day and I think that there are indicators,” he added. “In fact he indicated since April that crime was down six percent so I don’t understand what the problem is.”
The national security minister added that police will not conceal crime data from the public.
“The police will not suppress information on crime, why would they do that?”
On July 16, Greenslade said that the rate of serious crimes, except for armed robbery, had dropped six percent overall for the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2011. However, at the time he did not release data to support the claim and has not produced the statistics despite media requests which began on June 27.
On July 19, Greenslade said he was “not prepared” to make the statistics public.
“Crime is down in all categories,” Greenslade told The Nassau Guardian a little over a week ago. “I made the comments that I could make. The issue has never been about whether I can produce crime statistics. That’s not the issue. I couldn’t speak to you or any member of the press and tell you about figures if I didn’t have them. I do have them.”
When asked when he would release the data Greenslade said, “I’m not willing to say at the moment except to tell you that I will release them. I’m not prepared to release them today, but I will release them.”
Members of the Official Opposition including Free National Movement (FNM) Senator Zhivargo Laing have called on the commissioner to release data to support his statements on the reduction of crime.