Police improve trust level in Salt Spring – Watson
The trust between the police and members of the community of Salt Spring in St James has been improved through social intervention programmes initiated by the police in collaboration with other stakeholders.
According to Constable Shantel Watson of the St James Community Safety and Security Branch, as a result of the different collaborative social intervention programmes, the police and citizens have not only developed a better relationship, but also many of the negative myths relating to the police are being debunked.
Watson made this disclosure while addressing a violence prevention and peace-building symposium at Montego Bay Community College, recently. The symposium was organised by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in partnership with the Ministry of National Security under the theme ‘Collaboration and Evidence-driven Interventions: Making a Difference Towards Achieving a Safe and Violence-free Jamaica’.
“In an effort to regain trust and to rebuild peace, the St James division partnered with both internal and external stakeholders to start several programmes, some of which are the Breakfast Feeding programme, Youth Empowerment Summer Camp, and Community Renovation,” she shared.
Through the Youth Empowerment Summer Camp, Watson said that young people and children who were enrolled in the programme were exposed to life skills and social etiquette.
“Conflict resolution is vital, and they were taught how to manage everyday conflicts that normally result in violence. These sessions provided the opportunity to bridge gaps between families who were at war or who had been alienated by feuds through their children,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, for the community renovation projects, which entailed the development of the community through projects that seek to beautify and enhance life in the community, Watson explained that they gave residents and the police a great avenue to work together in achieving this goal.
“In Salt Spring, young men from the community all came together, putting aside their differences to renovate their garbage receptacles, repair the schools’ fencing, and to build tank stands for the schools,” said Watson.
Through these projects, she observed, a mutual understanding of trust and peace was practised in an effort to make a common goal a reality, and that was in the beautification of their environment.
“Persons saw the efforts being made and then joined in as they wanted to be part of the process of change,” she said.
Watson emphasised that to develop trust and peace in any community, there must be a mutual understanding between all parties involved and a willingness to work together.
“There must be an open line of communication between all parties as no relationship can thrive without this,” she stressed.