Africa-Press – Seychelles. The Seychelles Police Force (SPF) has launched its strategic plan 2023-2025.
The plan was launched on Saturday June 18 by Commissioner Ted Barbe in a ceremony that concluded the activities marking his one year in office.
Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka, was among guests attending the launch ceremony held at the police headquarters, Victoria, where Commissioner Barbe was welcomed by a Guard of Honour and made an official address to the members of the police force.
Speaking about the new ‘Strategic review of the SPF 2023-2025’, Commissioner Barbe explained that this is an exercise that was conducted by the British experts, namely Sir George Hamilton, Philip Knox, and Raymond Murray. It contains 15 recommendations.
“As early as last year, we embarked upon and emphasised on a new policing approach in the quest to prevent and deter criminal activities. This was a stepping stone to more changes as we move forward on this challenging journey. The drafting of our Strategic Plan 2023-2025 encompasses and takes stock of the wishes of the people of Seychelles as well as the commitment of the men and women in uniform, and the civilian staff of the Seychelles Police Force to make it happen,” explained Commissioner Barbe.
He said that the police force is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for the people of Seychelles and visitors alike. In so doing, I will emphasise on the Code of Ethics and the implementation of the seven (7) strategic work streams to bring about sustainable change.
“Professionalising our police force involves transforming it to the highest level possible and this remains the objective of the SPF. In the process, the transformation entails improving the following areas within the police force: infrastructure, availability of equipment; and capacity building of our human resources. These are momentous changes if we are to keep abreast of ongoing global developments in this day and age.”
Training of staff
It is a fact that due to the pandemic, training took a backlash. Commissioner Barbe reassured the staff that training will resume and the young officers will be mentored in order to follow the right code of conduct. The welfare of the officers is also a priority and exercise should be part of the activities for the officers. Already a group of officers have been trained as mentors and trainers. Commissioner Barbe reassured the public that cases registered are being dealt with and those that are taking time, they are looking into where the barriers are.
State of police stations
Commissioner Barbe shared that some stations are in a bad state and need immediate attention due to fungus while others need to be built.
“We are looking forward for the new stations and we hope that whenever there is plan to construct new stations, the officers are being consulted so that the stations cater for the needs.”
Physical space remains a major challenge for the SPF even to accommodate a forensic lab. Commissioner Barbe also wishes to have a separate headquarters from the Central Station.
Restructuration of the Anti-Narcotics Bureau
Commissioner Barbe maintained that since he took office, he mentioned that the Anti-Narcotics Bureau (ANB) needs to be restructured. “It is not only for ANB as we are doing in all stations in order to reinvigorate our policing style. There will be more training, new deployment strategies will be done including Praslin and La Digue. This process forms part of the transformation we are pushing for.
Role of women within the force
Commissioner Barbe spoke a lot about the welfare of women in the force and shared that for many years women officers were not being promoted. “In 2021, we had only two senior officers within the force and they have already retired. Now we have women in charge in the South, East, as deputy of CID and Mont Fleuri station. We have also introduced a life balance programme. There should not be gender-based decision but rather policing.”
Regarding this subject, Commissioner Barbe explained that this is something they are working on as Seychelles needs to be a safe venue for visitors and locals. “We did have tourism police before but the logistics were not present to accommodate the officers. There was no place for them to take shelter when it rains or even have to use the washroom. More discussions need to be done with the tourism partners to see how to accommodate such service. We are also thinking of using electronic bikes that will facilitate movement of the officers. We also need to know what kind of structure we need to put in place to deliver such service.”
Visits to the stations
During the last week, Commissioner Barbe has been visiting all the police stations around the main islands. Commissioner Barbe expressed that during the last year he has seen a positive transformation within the force and he was able to get the respect of the officers. “They are ready to embrace the change in the vision I brought in even though we had many challenges before. As the Commissioner of Police, I understand their sufferings and challenges and I saw in what conditions they were working. The condition of our transport also is not good and many other issues such as transfers to other islands, problems with housing etc. I know I will not be able to solve all their problems but I promise together with my management team, we will discuss your cases.”
Commissioner Barbe noted that if the action plan is implemented properly the public will see a changed SPF and “we owe this to the public and for the betterment of the people of Seychelles”.
At the end of the press conference, Commissioner Barbe accompanied by six women officers went on patrol at Market Street.