Joining community policing groups

Photos and interviews by Jonelle Fields and Dreylan Johnson

This week, we asked the man/woman in the streets about Community Policing Groups in their communities and whether they would be a part of them.

Barrington Braithwaite, Illustrator/ Graphics Artist

‘I don’t know what changes have been done with the present policing groups but policing groups were an embarrassment around 2001. Policing groups were politically motivated and they were responsible for a lot of random breakages of the law.  They were at that time populated by people who were in all kinds of businesses who were making money illegally and who were sheltered by the policing groups. But I suspect now that, that is not the same thing with the policing groups of today. Where I live in Georgetown, we do not have policing groups, the town has never had too many policing groups. there were only rich people who had banded themselves together to protect their turf. Policing groups require dedication, and if you are seriously doing it, it is hard work. I would consider joining it but, it is the time. Where am I going to extract the time from while I have a small business to look after.

Leonard Gobin, Driver

‘Where I am living the Community Policing Group is not active. But I would support one because a lot of young people are out of a job, they are not qualified and they do not have the necessary qualifications to get a job and you find them dropping out of the schools, so it is wise for these groups to be active so they can take certain precautions on the youths of today. You find in my community the youths they are gambling, using indecent language and drugs and they have no respect and regards for the elders. They say what they want to do and they do what they want to do. I think the government should give the policing groups more power over the communities, because if a member of the policing group should see a group of young men smoking marijuana or using indecent language in the public, they should have the authority to break the group up.’

Gregory Reginald, Security Officer

‘My community is a crime free area, not so much crimes you would find happening  in Diamond Housing Scheme because the police would patrol there very often. Normally the neighbours look out for each other. My community has a policing group and they have been effective since they move undercover. I would think about joining the group but I have a job and I work long hours. So when I get home from work I’m tired.’

Jason Benjamin, Manager

`I think that in certain communities a policing group might do well but in a low level community where crime is high, you have to realize that your life could be in danger once the criminals know that you’re the one snitching on them. But I think what is happening in communities now is that the neighbours are looking out for each other but if a group comes together and they have the right equipment and the criminals do not know them I think that would be a good thing. I am from South Melanie, and there had a lot of robberies and I have been robbed before also, I would join the policing group but I would want to be anonymous.  Reason being for anonymity is safety, because once people know that you are informing them to the police, it might be a problem for you.’

Michael Ignatius, Actor/Comedian  

`I do not think that Beteverwagting has a community policing group. If there is one, I’m not sure if it is active because I have never heard of one. In our village, the crime rate is not that high, but I think that some youths need to be monitored because there are different youths coming into the community selling all sorts of stuff [illegal stuff]. If a community policing group is formed in my area, once I get the time I would love to join and I don’t mind at all. I love doing those things because I have two sons and I want them to grow up in a community where it is safe and very conducive to them in terms of learning.’

Vahid Sarjune, Sales Personnel

`At the moment my community, Annandale West, does not have a community policing group. There was one and I was once a part of it. I was elected chairman and someone else was elected secretary, but that person could not have done the work so I functioned as both Chairman and Secretary. I think most of the persons are not focused in the policing group, all they are focusing on was getting the devices and the vehicle and actually just being ‘well oh I am a part of a poling group and I’m a police officer and I will hold you yah know’ something like that, and that was one of the major reasons why the group broke up. We figured out that persons just wanted the guns and the power, they abused the power. Policing groups as the word says, persons might think it is just about security but it is just not that alone. You have to maintain the community as well, treat persons with respect, make sure there is some sort of governance within the community, like keeping the drains and the roads clean. However, we never use to get any of that done, because when we try to hold meetings persons never came out, there was really no sort of cooperation. Another thing about policing groups that if a community has someone who is very wealthy then that policing group is going to be striving, while some that do not have would die. We use to work along with the police at Vigilance police station. Sometimes one officer used to assist us, but after a while that eventually stopped. But I would encourage persons to join a policing group because it is very nice, just as long as they don’t join for the wrong reasons. Also I don’t think that it should be called a policing group, maybe it should be changed to some word including unity, because people get the wrong concept about policing, because it is basically getting things done in your community and making it better and crime free. ‘

Bebi Zamena Oosman

`I live in Canefield Settlement, East Canje, and we do have a community policing group here. I do believe it’s one of those things a community needs to feel safer. At this point of time with my age, 54 years, I would not consider joining, since I would not be able to do much. However, my eldest son was a member of the community policing group until he passed away in 2015. It was one of his achievements that he was most proud of. Although I knew he was putting his life in danger, I slept sounder knowing my son was out there looking out for his community. As of now, Canefield has a very active community policing group and my neighbours and I much appreciate the work they do every night.’

Javon Vickerie, Journalist

`Well my community in Charlotte Street does not have a community policing group but in the event if anything happens neighbours are there to help each other out. I would not join the policing group if my community does decide to have one because I would not have the time and one must have the time and be dedicated to the work.’

Elvis Connolly, Customer Representative

`My area in South Ruimveldt does not have a community policing group but I think that they do need one. There are high instances of petty crime and it is generally unsafe as of lately. I think those persons who are a part of the group should be armed but they should also be in the company of a police officer as well. Because we don’t want people walking around with guns shooting people. However, if a policing group is formed in my area I would not be a part of it because most of the time I am at work and my hours at work would probably clash with the patrol hours. But I would encourage those to join because it can foster a sense of community.’

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