Steady increase in community policing initiatives

No. 68 Friday, March 19, 2010
Assistant Commissioner of Police John McLean with responsibility for the Community Safety & Security Division is expressing confidence that there is a steady growth in the number of communities which are trusting Community Policing as the answer to their collective needs. He explains that the new model of Community Policing being pursued by communities, places emphasis on joint problem solving and partnerships.

    According to ACP John McLean, Community Based Policing has forged formal partnerships between residents, civic groups, public sector agencies and inter­national donor agencies. He believes there is a growth in the partnerships in sup­port of community policing as well as in the activities resulting from Community Policing. Among partners in the process are Citizens Associations, Youth Clubs, Parish Councils, Parish Development Committees, the Citizens' Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), HEART/NTA and Social Development Commission. "Community Policing is not an end in itself but a tool, to try and create safer, more empowered communities," ACP McLean pointed out. He revealed that 57 communities islandwide have dedicated community policing programmes and action plans to enhance social development and the security in the respective areas.
    Among the communities now reaping success in the Community Policing Programme are Enfield in St. Mary, Race Course in Trelawny, Russia in Westmoreland, Canaan Heights in Clarendon, as well as Mountain View and Havendale in St .. Andrew. Assistant Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant of the Strategic Review Implementation Team (SRIT), points to ongoing training of police officers and the strengthening of the internal capacity of the JCF, to enhance the work of the police with respective communities, under the Community Policing Programme. She discloses another expanded thrust of the Community Based Policing Programme: "We see the need to equip police officers in dealing with domestic violence intervention. We hope. to get that programme going in the new financial year."
    The USAID Community Empowerment and Transformation Project (COMET), which has been giving technical and administrative support to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), on its Community Policing Programme believes that Community Policing is essential to community improvement and is central to the culture change and other key reforms stipulated in the Strategic Review Implementation Plan (SRIP) of the JCF.
    Another partner in Community Policing, CSJP, is interacting with residents in 26 communities on crime prevention strategies. Gillian Scott, CSJP Social Marketing Coordinator, ex­plains that her organization has been placing emphasis on teaching citizens about their rights and responsibilities both in face-to-face discussions as well as posting the Citizens Charter on its website. She says CSJP has also been teaching community safety messages and within a month, the organization will take the process a step further by using 'Street Theatre' to make citizens more aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law, as well as expose them to the opportunities avail­able to them for resolving conflicts.

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