Despite uncertainty over funding allocated by the 2011 budget, the Maldives Police Service has today unveiled commitments to try and expand its services among a wider number of islands in the Maldives, whilst also prioritising the prevention of “emerging” threats like cyber crime and human trafficking.
The commitments were announced as part of a new strategic plan outlining key focus areas for police between 2011 and 2013. These focuses include aims to extend measures on the prevention of cyber crime, human trafficking, “extremist ideologies” and piracy, along with more day to day crimes such as theft, violence and drug abuse.
Yoonus Sobah, head of the Bureau of Criminal Records and a member of the Police Service’s strategic development department, told Minivan News that any new commitments outlined for policing the nation were tied, and perhaps limited, to the 2011 state budget that had just been passed yesterday.
Saboh said that the force had not therefore outlined any additional projects in the “short run”, such as new island-based police stations or other service extensions.
“Our goal is to have our services increased across the islands, though this has to be linked to the budget,” he said. “Initially, this means there will be no new police stations constructed, though there are five additional structures in development across a number of islands that were already planned.”
According to Sobah, as part of strategy to try and improve delivery of policing across the country, the service is moving ahead with “decentralisation plans” to try and create a strong presence across the country’s capital islands. Such a focus is expected to allow for cases that were previously transferred to Male’ to be examined on a more local regional basis instead, according to the Police Service spokesperson.
On a wider national scale, Sobah said that the new police strategy would aim to increasingly deal with “emerging” larger-scale crimes such as financial misconduct, people smuggling and even maritime protection in conjunction with groups like the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF).
“Alongside our commitments to street crime, we will try and prioritise on bigger cases that we are not as experienced in solving, such as cyber crime,” he said.
Sobah added that so called larger or “emerging” crimes also involved potential external threats such as terrorism, piracy and financial crime.
Speaking today during the unveiling of the new three year police strategy at the Iskandhar Koshi bulding, Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh highlighted the importance of serving the people with loyalty and integrity and how the new strategic plan could help met these aims.
“The purpose of the police is to enforce the law and maintain a peaceful environment in the society,” said Faseeh. “This strategic plan was established after conducting research with the practical assistance of the Scottish police.”
In addressing the challenge of “emerging” criminal activity in the Maldives such as cyber crimes, the commissioner said he believed progress was already being made.
”The police have achieved satisfying progress in the last three years when we worked under the recent strategic plan,” he added.
Home minister Afeef claimed that although the last police strategic plan was not fully successful in meeting its aims, police achieved satisfying results nonetheless.
”Other institutions related to the work of the police should also cooperate more to achieve their best,” said Afeef. ”Police are ready to take the risk, although they have to deal with the most violent criminals in the country.”
He also appealed for witnesses at crime scenes to be more cooperative with the police when providing information.