Gov’t to Strengthen Neighbourhood Watch Programme


Minister of National Security, Derrick Smith, has said that the government will be revitalizing the Neighbourhood Watch and police youth club programmes to build better relations between police and civilians and reduce crime and violence.
“As an administration, the government commits itself to continue to work with the neighbourhood watch organization and we intend to strengthen community efforts by way of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF),” he stated.
The Minister, who was delivering the main address at the 20th annual Neighbourhood Watch conference in Montego Bay recently, said that crime and violence cannot survive where community spirit thrives.
It has been tested and proven, he said, that in communities with active neighbourhood watch groups, there have been less incidents of crimes over the years.
In the meantime, the Security Minister outlined other crime-fighting initiatives include strengthening the capacity of the JCF; transforming political garrisons; curtailing the inflow of guns into the country; improving the justice system; and strengthening conflict resolution initiatives.
He explained that the process to strengthen the capacity of he JCF will include increasing manpower. “We want to move, over a five-year period, from an establishment of some 8,500 to a level of 12,000 individuals in our JCF. We want to strengthen the capacity as it relates to equipment and the physical surroundings in which the police will have to operate on a daily basis,” he stated.
He informed further that emphasis will be placed on improving the management skills of the leaders in the force from the level of sergeant to commissioner, while noting that improved accountability will also be demanded from persons in management positions.
Since the inception of the Neighbourhood Watch programme in 1987, approximately 617 such groups have been officially launched. Several of these groups have become inactive over the years.
The 20th annual neighbourhood watch conference was held under the theme: ‘Reflecting on the past, taking charge of our future’.

JIS Social