Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party, has said the country has seen a higher number of crimes in the past 12 months than at any time in its history.
“Crimes and criminals have been in this Gambia for as long as this country has existed. Over centuries, even before colonial times, crimes were committed in this country.
“With the advent of colonial rule, measures were taken to address crimes in The Gambia and this led to the promulgation of the criminal code. Which proscribes conducts that have been given to be socially unacceptable and criminalises them.
“But never in the history of this country has the state of crime been so high as in the last 12 months.
“We have been witnessing burglary, day light armed robbery, gruesome and heinous murders, rape and other crimes of violence been committed in this country. These [crimes] have a bearing on the security of the state, our personal safety and our personal security,” he said at a news conference held at his office on Kairaba Avenue.
According to him, the reports they have heard about armed robbers showed that “armed robbers are well armed and prepared to take the lives of their victims”, adding “the status quo cannot be allowed to continue as the country has agencies designated to handle the situation.
“We have agencies that are designated to handle the situation to ensure that the rate of crime is curbed in the country. But are they prepared for it? Are they equipped for it?
“The work of the Inspector General of police, his team and the anti-crime unit which has their mantra of Operation Zero Crime could have done better, if they are properly equipped. All these police stations in the country do not have [a] vehicular opportunity to move about as they should,” he said.
“These police stations are unequipped, even proper communication facilities are not available to them. They have to be dependent on their cell phones and the government does not provide them the units as they provide the permanent secretaries free telephone calls, this is not provided to the police,” the opposition leader added.
He said the modern method of crime detection and crime prevention are not put in place in the country. He said police may be willing to do their job, but they are hampered and handicapped.
“The police cannot just depend on the gifts from the philanthropists to really make their movement easy for them.
“Virtually all the police stations do not even have motor bicycles that would facilitate their movements to places where their services may be needed.
“The police have been neglected and because of that they do not have motivation, they do not have the will to really do the work in the way they should do or expected of them.”
Reporting by Adama Makasuba