BELLEFIELD, Manchester — Derrick Knight, head of the Police Area Three, says "emerging and contemporary" issues in crime fighting in the south central region will be managed through various strategies including an expansion of the fledgling Manchester Dispute Resolution and Violence Prevention Association (MDR & VPA).
The MDR & VPA, which began at a stakeholders meeting last year, came at the request of Minister of National Security and Central Manchester Member of Parliament Peter Bunting, based on the high incidence of domestic violence in Manchester.
Since then the areas of progress include a formal launch of the Association, meetings in some of the more troubled areas in the parish such as Greenvale and George's Valley, a database of first responders have been set up in various communities and a 24-hour helpline have been established (1-888-Dipsute 347-7883).
Knight, speaking at the Member of Parliament's Constituency Meeting at Bellefield High School recently said that there are plans to improve on the dispute resolution structure to incorporate the other two parishes in the Division — Clarendon and St Elizabeth.
Also among the "rebranding" efforts in Area Three, he said, will be "gender-sensitive training" for members of his team and others; and improvement of police response time despite resource constraints.
Members of the Community Safety and Security section of the force, in particular, will be engaging the public more to see how best to handle disputes through mediation and counselling, says Knight.
Recounting some recent incidences of violence and their impact on the wider society, he urged residents to be proactive in reporting domestic violence and other crimes.
"Put the (negative) informer culture behind you and save your neighbour's life. If you have the last 20 cents on your phone call me... call me and I will call you back immediately. If you don't have any credit send me a please call me," he said.
Superintendent for the Manchester Division Marlon Nesbeth and Knight who started their assignments in early January claim to have a shared vision.
"Policing by consent with the people for the people must be the way forward," Nesbeth told the audience.
With children at the centre of two of the more sensational incidents in Manchester since he took office, Nesbeth urged parents and community members to be more vigilant in protecting them.
In late January a 15-year-old female student of DeCarteret College was reported missing before she was found in Portland allegedly with an older man whom she met on the social networking site Facebook. She was returned home unharmed.
On February 13 the lifeless body of Martha Byrowe, 16, was found at a home in Top Albion district where she was reportedly cohabiting with her 33-year-old lover. He allegedly stabbed her to death.
Nesbeth said that community members, who are aware of children in circumstances which are a violation of their rights, but fail to inform the police, are also guilty of an offense.
He emphasised that the cooperation of citizens with the police is critical for the maintenance of law and order.
"Without your support we can hardly do it," said Nesbeth.