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Story Highlights

  • The Police (Civilian Oversight) Authority (PCOA) says it will be increasing its engagement with the public.
  • Speaking with JIS News, PCOA, Chief Executive Officer, Otarah Byfield, told JIS News that the objective is to build public trust and confidence in the entity’s work, and by extension, the police force.
  • “A very critical part of building public trust and confidence is that we want to be accountable to the public and also involve the public in the work that we do,” she said.

The Police (Civilian Oversight) Authority (PCOA) says it will be increasing its engagement with the public.

Speaking with JIS News, PCOA, Chief Executive Officer, Otarah Byfield, told JIS News that the objective is to build public trust and confidence in the entity’s work, and by extension, the police force.

“A very critical part of building public trust and confidence is that we want to be accountable to the public and also involve the public in the work that we do,” she said.

“We want to expand our reach in terms of the information we disseminate to the public, so our strategy will see us doing more engagements with the public, getting them to know who we are, the services we provide and building a connection between the citizen and the police, so that, ultimately, we are building trust and confidence in the JCF,” she noted further.

She said that community leaders such as justices of the peace (JPs) will be included in the process.

Ms, Byfield said that the increased interaction will enable citizens to learn more about how they can assist the police in the execution of their duties.

“You have to also start thinking about your own role and responsibility in creating safer communities… . This will mean more community engagement between PCOA and the citizens while integrating the police into that process, and letting citizens know what the service is like in their specific geographical space, when we have done an inspection,” she said.

Ms. Byfield noted that an established connection between community members and the police force has proven to improve policing in communities.

“You will find in some divisions that community engagement is one of the major activities that have worked in terms of the service and the impact it has on the communities,” she pointed out.

PCOA was established to operate as a mechanism separate from the police force to ensure accountability, adherence to policy guidelines and observance of proper policing standards by the force.

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