Western News

Police says Salt Spring benefiting from social intervention programmes

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Constable Shantel Watson of the St James Community Safety and Security Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) says the fractured trust between the police and members of the Salt Spring community is being repaired through social intervention programmes initiated by the police in collaboration with other stakeholders.

She says that as a result of the various collaborative 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.

Constable Watson made the disclosure while addressing a violence prevention and peace-building symposium at the 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, Constable 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, Constable Watson explained that they gave residents and the police a great avenue to work together in achieving the desired results.

“In Salt Spring young men from the community all came together putting aside their differences to renovate their garbage receptacle, repair the school's fencing and to build tank stands for the schools,” said Constable 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.”

“People saw the efforts being made and then joined in as they wanted to be a part of the process of change,” she stressed.

Constable Watson emphasised that in order 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.


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