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Police Service assigns a dedicated officer to patrol St George’s

St George’s has a new dedicated police officer following years of complaints about the lack of direct coverage.

PC Litanya Smith, who was unveiled at a public meeting in Penno’s Wharf on Thursday night, will be based in the Old Town to serve as a first port of call for residents needing police assistance.

Superintendent Martin Weekes told the meeting of around 20 people: “Some would say we are just going back to what we used to do.

“I would say absolutely right. Because sometimes the things we used to do worked.

“We are going back to having a dedicated police officer, Litanya Smith. She will be working out of the new police station here in St George’s.

“She will be working with more flexibility; she will work when the people of St George’s want her to work: in the town square, wherever people want her.”

Ms Smith is a former CSI officer with experience in community policing, said Mr Weekes.

“We trust her to do the job that people want her to do,” he said. “We are aware it’s a world heritage centre and we want to make sure the coverage is given.”

York Street Police Station closed in 2007 and, while it reopened in a part-time capacity in 2009, the parish has mainly been served by Southside Station in St David’s.

St George’s West MP Kim Swan, who was elected as a United Bermuda Party MP, has regularly called for more policing in the Old Town and has acted as a makeshift policeman himself in recent weeks.

Mr Swan told the meeting: “One of the concerns about the visibility, with all due respect, is we do not see the patrolling cars as often.

“There’s been instances we have had to wait more than 20 or 30 minutes for the police to come. That’s a difficulty for us, particularly those who remembered when the doors were open and we had a duty sergeant there.

“We hope we can get back to when we had more officers available.”

National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief told residents the meeting was called so he could hear their concerns on the area and to allow Fire Chief Vincent Hollinsid to announce the temporary closure of the fire station due to mould.

One elderly woman took the microphone to say: “St George’s has lost everything. No cruise ships. No police station. No fire station.”

She said of Ms Smith: “She’s only one person. If something is happening in the square, and she’s attending that, and something’s happening in York Street, what happens?”

Mr Weekes replied that the officer will be in regular contact with teams from Southside, who will be ready to help when needed.

PC Scott Devine urged residents to form neighbourhood watch groups, which he said had successfully reduced property crime across the Island.

“Two years ago if you had told me we would have neighbourhood watch in Friswell’s Hill and St Monica’s Road, I would have laughed at you,” said Mr Devine.

“They are two of our better neighbourhood watches now.”

For more information about starting a neighbourhood watch, call your community action team.

St. George's Police station

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Published March 31, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 31, 2012 at 8:26 am)

Police Service assigns a dedicated officer to patrol St George’s

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