Barbados’ criminal justice system continues to receive assistance from the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
The latest effort comes with the two countries supporting the introduction of national case file standards, through a number of training workshops.
Over 400 Barbados Police Service (BPS) officers will participate in the workshops, which focus on a new filing system aimed at improving the quality and content of criminal case files submitted by the police to prosecutors.
A release from the US Embassy Bridgetown notes standardised case files improve the ability of the police and prosecutors to prosecute cases in a timely and efficient manner. They also ensure that a case can be managed and presented in a coherent and professional manner at trial.
As such, standardising criminal case file management is expected to reduce delays in the hearing of criminal matters and increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.
The National Case File Standards were jointly produced by the US/UK Criminal Justice Reform Project and the Regional Security System (RSS).
The first workshop was held on January 12, 2023 at the Regional Police Training Centre. There facilitators Sirah Abraham, Criminal Justice Advisor to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, and Major Kerry Waterman of the RSS trained senior officers on the concepts of early evidential reviews, file building, and case management.
The US Embassy Bridgetown says training is expected to continue next week and will include a ‘train the trainer’ component to ensure the sustainability of the initiative.
Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at US Embassy Bridgetown Reggie Singh has applauded the initiative, stating that “The Criminal Justice Reform Project seeks to identify solutions that lead to more effective criminal justice systems in the region. This practical training will result in more organised and comprehensive files submitted by the police to prosecutors, who will be able to prepare cases more thoroughly to address serious crime.”
Meanwhile, Head of Political & Communications Team at the British High Commission Tom Hines welcomed the introduction of the standards and thanked the officers for their commitment to improving the criminal justice system in Barbados. He says, “The implementation of these standards will have a positive impact on the criminal justice system. They will not only increase in the number of well-prepared and well-compiled files originating from the police but also improve the quality of standards of prosecuting serious crime”.
Deputy Commissioner Erwin Boyce declared the training open, adding that the introduction of case standards is critical to witness protection and ensuring public confidence in the Barbados Police Service.