Kingston – March 29, 2011 - About 20 senior police officers from the region will participate in a two-week advanced anti-narcotics investigation training course, March 28 to April 8, at the Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Centre (REDTRAC), Twickenham Park, St Catherine.

Organised by REDTRAC, in collaboration with CARICOM and the European Union (EU), it aims at improving and strengthening senior law enforcer’s anti-narcotics capabilities.

The officers, from approximately 11 English-speaking Caribbean nations, will be trained in operational planning, financial investigating, management of case preparation, ethics and anti-corruption measures, as well as covert and undercover operations.

The course will also cover forensic evidence, management of intelligence and sources, operational planning and review of trends and strategies for drug interdiction and co-operation.

Principal Director of REDTRAC, Bertram Millwood, told JIS News that the workshop, funded by the EU’s European Development Fund (EDF), will review trends and strategies of drug production and trafficking, both nationally and regionally.

Mr. Bertram also noted that the course will take an intelligence driven approach to anti-narcotics policing, as well as explore up-to-date technological developments or techniques in the collection, storage and assessment of information.

He said, most significantly, the course will explore the possibility of intelligence and information sharing, as no one country can adequately tackle drug trafficking and organised crime on its own.

“It’s a worldwide problem, and we’re going to have to have a worldwide focus on it,” Mr. Millwood stated.

He said that the programme will be looking at how forensic evidence can play a greater role in drug interdiction, and the crucial role it plays in the chain of evidence in drug trafficking.

“As senior officers, they need to manage the preparation of cases and the presentation before Court. So, we’ll be having senior officers from the Office of the Director Public Prosecution to look at the weaknesses and strengths in the preparation of files, and how they can improve these sorts of things,” he added.

CARICOM representative, Beverley Reynolds, said the programme is part of the CARICOM/EU 9th EDF agreement that looks specifically at reducing drug demand and supply. The programme forms part of the Caribbean Integration Support Project, which is also funded by the 9th EDF, with the CARICOM Secretariat as the executing agency.

The project, according to Miss Reynolds, has two major focuses including reducing the demand for drugs. This aspect concentrates on capacity building, institutional strengthening, the strengthening of data systems and providing in country support via technical advisory bodies.

The second component of the programme focuses on the training of law enforcement officers, throughout the region.      

Miss Reynolds also told JIS News that, studies have shown that one of the driving forces behind crime and violence in the Caribbean is a flourishing narcotics trade.

“The concern has been the impact that drugs and crime have had, and will continue to have, on our development, at the national level as well as at the regional level,” she commented.

She said the workshop was designed within this context, as a strategy to fight organised crime and the drug trade, and to ensure that “in going forward we continue to make advancements in law enforcement training”.