Twenty-six police graduate from USAID training on youth crime

Some of the graduates posed for a photo op after the ceremony. Seated from left are: Ato Augustine, Primary Prevention Specialist CFYR; Jerome Epping, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy; Commissioner of Police, Leslie James; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken; and Interim Chair of the Guyana National Youth Council, Derwayne Wills.

Twenty-six police ranks, along with four civilians, on Friday graduated from a one-week training programme on crime prevention among at-risk youths.

The programme was facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Community, Family and Youth Resilience (CFYR) programme.

At the graduation which was held at the Guyana Police Force Training Centre, the 30 graduates were presented with certificates.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken, who was present at the ceremony, underlined the importance of establishing partnerships. He stated that the programme focused on bridging the gap between police and members of the public and thanked the mission for facilitating the programme.

Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, Jerome Epping, in his remarks, commended the graduates on their successful completion of the training programme. Epping stated that the United States Embassy has had a longstanding and successful partnership with the Government of Guyana, specifically working in the areas of security and crime prevention, and has always supported the strengthening of Guyana’s law enforcement capabilities in a number of areas.

“In 2016, the United States launched multiple programmes to reduce youth involvement in crime and violence, including the Community, Family & Youth Resilience programme, which [is] this training. Implemented in Guyana and throughout the Caribbean, it benefits at risk youth between the ages of 10 to 29 by strengthening family and community support systems to create alternatives to involvement in violence” said Epping.

“Our constant goal is to reduce those risk factors that lead youth to become involved in violence and strengthening the protection factor to reduce the likelihood of them being victims of perpetrators. Through a range of activities, the CFYR supports our aim to build youth resilience, build stronger families and safer communities,” said Ato Augustine, the Primary Prevention Specialist at CFYR. Augustine added that the social crime prevention programme is an approach to address crime and violence and stressed the importance of officers working together with their communities.

According to Augustine, some of the topics covered as part of the training programme were: gangs and organized crime, community awareness, domestic violence, youth violence, among others.

“With this training, we hope to see the partnership moving to the communities in focus, which is East La Penitence, East Ruimveldt, Sophia— with specific focus on fields C, D and E— and Lodge. We are certain that once you effectively applied the tools that you would have learned in the Social Crime Prevention, [it] will be positive and have a sustained impact,” said Augustine.

He added that some of the officers were trained as facilitators, and expressed hopes that those officers would extend their knowledge to their colleagues.

Commissioner of Police, Leslie James, expressed his gratitude to  USAID for facilitating the programme and congratulated the ranks for seeing it to completion.

“As you know, social crime prevention is part of our function; as we go through our communities within the state of Guyana, our ranks ought to, in their interaction, be aware of the social issues that persons within our communities face…I am very pleased to have this programme and I am sure the-new found knowledge that these ranks have now attained, when they return to their respective divisions it will add to our efforts in bridging the gaps in the communities” said James.

James added that he would be in talks with the Deputy Commissioner for administration to determine where the ranks who would have successfully completed the programme will be placed to balance the ranks in the various divisions so they would be able to impart their knowledge to others within the divisions.

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