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Perinchief: Reward would help catch robbers

Reward proposal: Wayne Perinchief, former assistant commissioner of police (File photograph)

A cash reward would help police flush out the criminals responsible for a spate of armed robberies across the island, according to a former high-ranking officer.

Wayne Perinchief believes that the perpetrators of the crime wave are the same individuals, and that the boon of a reward could prompt informants to come forward with vital intelligence.

The former assistant commissioner, who left the police service in 1995 after 30 years, told The Royal Gazette that it was imperative that rival MPs did not use the rising tide of gunpoint raids as a political football.

“This phenomenon is not unusual, it happened during my time as assistant commissioner and it will continue to recur, so I am not overly critical of the police or the present administration,” said Mr Perinchief.

“With these guys that are operating at the moment, they are hitting the same, small, black businesses.

“The perpetrators are probably people who frequent these establishments and the focus needs to be on who these guys are. It’s probably the same people that are committing these robberies; it’s the same profile and the same modus operandi.”

In mid-April The Royal Gazette reported that nine small businesses had been targeted in the space of 15 weeks. Six of the nine incidents since Boxing Day last year saw staff threatened with either a knife or a firearm and to date there has been just one conviction.

Last Friday, Continental Motors on North Shore Road, Pembroke was robbed at gunpoint — it was the third such attack in eight days and followed robberies at the Gem Cellar in Hamilton and Hunt’s in Warwick.

Mr Perinchief, a former Minister of National Security until 2012, admitted he had been surprised it had taken police so long to catch those responsible for the crime spree. But he maintained that the time for a ban on dark visors had passed, adding: “Prevention is better than cure”.

“If the Chamber of Commerce, the police or another organisation was to put up a substantial reward, I believe these guys would be apprehended through informants,” he said. “If I had been in charge of the investigation I probably would have had more officers in plain clothes actively working.

“Recently, I have seen an emphasis on uniformed police in the community, and that can be a deterrent. But we are diluting the officers in the bars and sports clubs and the ones that really penetrate the community.

“That kind of plain-clothed policing can really lead to good intelligence and good results where there is a series of similar crimes like this.”

“I have been surprised at how long it has taken for police to get a grip of the problem and pick up these guys. I would have thought that information would have been gathered as to who they are.”