BELIZE CITY, Fri. July 2, 2021– The US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) hosted a two-week basic investigation training session to improve the investigative capacity of police units in Belize.
Twenty-nine officers from various branches of the Police Department, including the Crimes Investigation Branch, the Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Units, and the Anti-Gang Taskforce, graduated from this third and latest phase of the training initiative. These officers now join the more than 80 investigators who have already received training through the program.
In addition, a total of thirty of these officers who have completed the previous courses will undergo further training. This training is expected to equip these officers with the knowledge and skills needed to serve as instructors and mentors for other investigators within the Police Department.
At the recent graduation ceremony held at the Queen Street Police Station, US Chargé d’Affaires Keith Gilges said, “It is the aim of the U.S. government to support Belize’s police department in redesigning systems, structures, and practices that will improve the quality of Belize’s law enforcement investigations over the long term…. Improved practices for law enforcement investigations will increase the likelihood that offenders will be apprehended and successfully prosecuted, which is critical to reducing crime in Belize.”
A recent travel advisory from the US Embassy noted, “Violent crime – such as sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder – are common even during daylight hours and in tourist areas…. Local police lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Most crimes remain unresolved and unprosecuted.” The current training initiative is aimed at addressing that lack of prosecution of crimes by enabling investigators to deploy effective information-gathering techniques, as well as protocols for proper management of crime scenes.