National Crime Committee Hammers Out Work Plan


In a bid to further reduce crime in the country, the National Consultative Committee on Crime and Violence, held a two-day retreat to review its work and hammer out a work plan for 2004.
The retreat, which was held January 22 and 23 at Strawberry Hill Hotel, St. Andrew, had participation from several Ministries and representatives from civil society.
Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, in giving an overview of the objectives of the meeting, said the Committee wanted to “take stock” in relation to the Report on Crime and Violence, as well as formulate a work plan for this year.
Dr. Phillips said: “The Committee felt that it was necessary to take stock of where we are in relation to recommendations of the Report on the National Committee on Crime and Violence – that in effect we needed to develop a work plan, that could contribute to an even greater reduction in [the] levels of crime and violence, over the course of this year, 2004”.
The National Security Minister pointed out that there was much to be gained from taking a collaborative approach to this effort. “The police have to do what they have to do. but I think everyone has recognised that . there is a social intervention component,” he said.
He noted that there were many agencies carrying out activities in relation to violence prevention, citing the Ministries of Education, Youth and Culture, and Health.
The Ministry of Health, he pointed out, spent some half a billion dollars last year, treating victims of violence. That Ministry has therefore been seeking to sensitize the public to the effects of violence, as well as aid in mental health support to persons who are inclined to, or who are victims of violent behaviour.
Turning to the education sector, Minister Phillips noted that “all the data shows that if people have effective life-coping skills then their tendency toward violent behaviour is less”. The challenge therefore, he pointed out, was to teach some of these critical skills, at the basic school level, as well as to address older students who were still in the school system, but who had demonstrated a potential for violent behaviour.
He emphasized that even though policing activities were being strengthened, there was scope for more than the classic policing response, “and so we are setting to bring all the relevant agencies to bear on this.”
Minister Phillips also noted, that in the context of fiscal prudence, the Committee would have to exercise creativity in attacking the existing problems.

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