MAY PEN, Clarendon — The leadership of the Area Three Police Division (Manchester, Clarendon, St Elizabeth) is appealing for greater public support in resolving domestic disputes.
Commanding officer for the division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Derrick Cochrane, said statistics for 2011 show that domestic disputes have become a major problem, particularly in Manchester where "10 of the 32 murders committed last year" stemmed from domestic altercations.
He, however, believes most of the cases that usually escalate into violence can be prevented with more help from the public.
"It is a real problem for the police but we cannot do it alone," Cochrane told a recent domestic violence sensitisation meeting in May Pen, "so we want everybody to see themselves as part of this critical coalition going forward."
He noted that "nearly one in every three murders committed in Manchester last year had its genesis in domestic disputes and so far this year about 80 per cent of the murders had to do with domestic disputes. Some disputes start out of nothing but escalate into something big to the point where they get deadly. Research has also shown that where murders are committed as a result of domestic disputes there was no third party to intervene."
To combat this problem, Cochrane said the Manchester Police Division has collaborated with Northern Caribbean University and other stakeholders in the parish to launch a dispute resolution committee, which will train first responders to help resolve domestic disputes.
"The underlining intent of this association is to bring the different players in the society under one umbrella so that we can broaden dispute resolution at the community level, so gone are the days in the communities when you see a feuding (couple) or brother and sister and pay scant regard to it," he said.
Cochrane revealed that the plan is to use the Manchester Dispute Resolution Committee, "once it is perfected", as the blueprint for other parishes in Area Three.
"We have come to realise that it takes up a lot of time for the police to intervene in domestic disputes, so if we can get the communities in every one of the parishes to buy into this concept it will give us more time to do other work," he said.