Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, has endorsed the community safety project being executed by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development in collaboration the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The project, titled: ‘Enhancing Civil Participation and Local Governance for Community Safety’, is a two-year initiative, which seeks to take a citizen security approach to developing sustainable long-term strategies focusing on improved partnerships between civil society, local authorities, and central state agencies. The objective is to prevent and mitigate the effects of crime and violence through establishment of proposed Parish Safety and Security Committees (PSSCs), among other things.
Speaking at a parish safety and security workshop, organised by the Ministry, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (May 9), Mr. Ellington said the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) recognised that local authorities are “very key partners” with whom they must work, in order to ensure community safety and security.
Against this background, he said the JCF had undertaken “much effort” to engage these stakeholders in partnerships “so that our work will complement the work they do”, and create an “environment which is conducive to proper public security and public safety”.
He said that among the strategic priorities of the JCF is the restoration of public security and confidence by promoting a community-based policing strategy predicated on building and maintaining partnerships through mutual respect and understanding.
“And, to this end, we have been engaging several stakeholders – community groups, the churches, the schools, youth groups, and certain very critical industries. In fact, in the last year, we signed well over 300 partnership agreements with several of our critical stakeholders,” the Commissioner informed.
Launched in March 2011, the Enhancing Civil Participation and Local Governance for Community Safety project seeks to improve stakeholder capacity at the parish and community levels to engage in development planning and action in efforts at addressing crime and violence.
It also aims to build the capacity of local authorities and civil society at the parish level, to collaborate in planning and implementing local development; and assist with the formulation of the necessary tools and instruments for local level coordination and action to prevent and mitigate the effects of crime and violence.
The project is currently being executed as a pilot in six parishes: St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St. Mary, Trelawny, and Westmoreland.
Mr. Ellington also pledged the JCF’s full commitment to supporting the work of the PSSCs.
“Restoration of citizen security and confidence will not be achieved by simply cutting the murder numbers. It has to be a holistic approach to citizens’ security, justice and confidence which involves…law enforcement… among…other (inputs),” he stated.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter