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Monday, August 07, 2006 

Caribbean turns to Britain for help in solving crimes

Faced with a surge in violent crimes, several Caribbean nations are calling British police officers and Scotland Yard for assistance.


KINGSTON, Jamaica - Caribbean countries ask British police for help

Crime boss Donald ''Zekes'' Phipps ruled his turf with a ruthless aplomb that made him feared, reviled, respected and loved. And for years, he trumped an overwhelmed police force and a flawed judicial system.

But in the end, the once-untouchable ''Matthews Lane Don'' was hit with a life sentence because of the evidence put before a jury: the result of good, not-so-old-fashioned police work by British officers. 'If you want to hold up a case and say, `Do we offer value for money, are we making a difference?' Then I would say, 'If you look at that case alone . . . yes,' '' said retired Scotland Yard sleuth Mark Shields, now Jamaica's deputy commissioner of police.

With unprecedented levels of drug-related gang violence, kidnappings and murders threatening to soil the English-speaking Caribbean's idyllic image, an increasing number of governments around the region is desperately turning to British and other foreign police officers for assistance.

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