Saturday, June 15, 2024

San Pedro Tourism Police participate in tactical training

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Members of the tourism police unit in San Pedro Town were engaged in tactical training on Saturday, May 28th. The activity taking place across the country is spearheaded by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and aims to instruct officers on addressing crime situations involving tourists.

The exercise took place on the beach outside of a beachfront resort. Female and male officers learned the best approaches when apprehending armed suspects without provoking any escalation.  The officers practiced different scenarios and were directed by tactics instructor Shihan Ray Kelly of the House of Shotokan Karate. According to him, it is all about teaching the officers the guidelines on how to properly deal with an incident and guaranteeing the safety of tourists that come to Belize.

Kelly explained one of the scenarios in which a tourist was robbed, and the tourism police encountered the culprit. But that suspect was armed and dangerous, and officers were taught to take command. To use their voice to take control. “You have two officers pointing at him with their weapons; the bad guy has to make a decision, do I want live or do I want to die,” said Kelly. This power of command will aid the officers in taking control of the situation rapidly and apprehending the suspect without incident.

Kelly added that such capacitation is critical as these police officers are in contact with foreign visitors, sometimes people visiting the country for the first time. The tourism police should be ready and know how to handle an emergency professionally. If they fail, the tourist will leave with a negative impression of Belize.

In the meantime, BTB’s Tracey Dawson stated that the training also strengthens police knowledge and response to possible incidents and allows the officers to be more proactive. Another critical aspect of the training emphasizes that delicate and dangerous situations must be handled professionally. According to her, one of the main tactics implied in training is avoiding a physical altercation with the culprit unless it is necessary.

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