In Barbados, there is a zero tolerance for ALL illegal drugs - yes, even marijuana (medicinal or otherwise) - and there are several penalties for the use and possession of narcotics, including the possibility of up to 20 years in prison.
Barbados is one of the safest destinations but, while it's fine to be at ease, visitors should exercise the same wisdom you would anywhere else in the world. On a day to day basis, law enforcement in Barbados is carried out by The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF). Their motto is 'To serve, protect and reassure' and their mission 'To provide the highest quality police service, in partnership with the community, to ensure a safe and stable environment.'
The RBPF was established in 1835 and is the only accredited police force in the Caribbean. It is an armed force and a member of Regional Security Systems (RSS) with most policemen receiving training in the UK, USA, Canada and as fas away as Israel, besides locally. They bear a strong presence around the island and are easily recognizable when in uniform. Often you will see them in pairs patrolling Bridgetown or in various vehicles perusing the island, especially touristed areas. There are 15 police stations around the island, including two and the main headquarters in Bridgetown, and one in each of the main towns - Holetown, Speightstown and Oistins. There are also two substations - one at the Glebe, St. George and the other at Port St. Charles marina.
Should you need police assistance, their numbers are directory listed or your front desk operator should be able to assist you. For emergency police assistance please dial 211 or call the police hotline which is +1 (246) 431 8787. This number will also put you in touch with the local arm of Crime Stoppers International
- a global organization which works with the community and local media and law enforcement to advance and support effective crime-solving, reduction and prevention.
Be wary of people who ask you to bring items into Barbados for them. You are responsible for everything you are carrying when clearing Customs. In some cases packages carried by an individual on behalf of another have been found to contain drugs, weapons, currency and other contraband or restricted items. We recommend that you avoid this practice whether it is for other travellers or persons in your place of origin. If the goods are or contain prohibited items or those subject to duty, you will be held fully liable. So that's what NOT to take. See What to Take for other packing tips.
Personal Items and Valuables
Always lock your room, villa or rental car. It can be a bit of an inconvenience but good practice to avoid insecurity to leave your room keys at the front desk. Use safety deposit boxes, and don't travel with too many valuables, be they items or documents. Don't flash these or major purchases around. Do not leave items unattended on the beach (or anywhere else for that matter) or in view in a vehicle.
For those returning to Barbados and declaring purchases at customs you should have all your documentation and produce these upon request. Sales slips, invoices, or other proof of purchase help substantiate your claim.