Community-oriented policing is a step in the right direction

Dear Editor,

Congratulations to Mr Seelall Persaud, Commissioner of Police (ag) who recently visited Albouystown – a crime hot spot – and launched ‘Albouystown Impact.’ It is a strategic approach towards reducing crime and the fear of crime. This initiative will develop trust, integrity and respect.

Police community relations are nothing new. They stem from Sir Robert Peel’s belief that the police are the public and the public is the police. One tool to help law enforcement tackle crime through solving, is the crime triangle. It sits on three legs: the victim, a perpetrator and location. Crime is presumed amenable to suppression if any of the three legs of the triangle is removed or neutralized. In the triangle the location is a critical element, particularly in areas called hot spots. A hot spot could be a single address or a cluster of addresses, part of a street, an entire street or two or three intersections. Most times the police concentrate on the victim and/or the suspect and pay very little attention to the location where things are happening.

At the locations major issues and concerns relating to crime are operating. They are political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental. Unless they are effectively handled crime will flourish. The police will break up one gang and overnight another will emerge. The police must not only be involved in solving crimes in the communities but they must be involved in problem solving. The Americans call it community-oriented policing and problem solving (COOPS)

The paradigm is slowly shifting towards community oriented policing. ‘B’ Division under the leadership of Assistant Commissioner Brian Joseph, supported by his second in command Superintendent Stephan Mansell is leading the pack. Recently appointed commander of ‘D’ Division Senior Superintendent Ian Amsterdam has started some community outreach in his division. He will do well because he is community oriented.

Some of the police activities are community policing, station management, neighbourhood police, traffic advisory, divisional advisory, regional intelligence committee, youth clubs, scouts, open days, soft projects and structured interactions with key stakeholders. These are bearing fruit and will continue to do so if effectively managed.

The challenges faced by the police are numerous. They defy any one-shot solution. However, approaches towards the reduction of crime and the fear of crime promoted by the acting Commissioner of Police must be replicated and sustained across the various divisions. They will cater for greater public confidence in the police. If there is no public confidence in the force we will continue in many instances to encounter members of the public with eyes which will not see, ears that will not hear and tongues which will not speak as it relates to crime.

The police need members of the public to see, hear and speak to them in law enforcement situations. This will enable them to be proactive and conduct more intelligence-led policing. Community-oriented policing and problem solving across the divisions is a tactical step in the right direction towards reducing crime and the fear of crime.

 

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Conway

Assistant Commissioner of Police

(rtd)

 

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