JIS News

Environmental issues, crime and indiscipline in-at-risk communities in St Catherine, will be tackled through the collaborative efforts of community leaders, the police, Non-Governmental Organisatons, Government agencies, and other stakeholders.
The groups have agreed to hold quarterly meetings to share information on activities and to review planned programmes in the four targeted communities of Newlands, Portmore Villas, March Pen, and Homestead in the parish.
The communities have been targeted by community police officers since the Jamaica Constabulary Force Community-Based Policing (CBP) roll-out in June, 2008.
CBP is a law enforcement philosophy and organisational strategy based on partnership between citizens and the police, to address the root causes of crime and disorder.
The decision was taken at a Community Safety and Security Stakeholders’ Forum held yesterday (Jan 13) at Cecil’s Restaurant in Spanish Town, St. Catherine. It was the first of a series of stakeholders forums in St. Catherine organised by the Social Development Commission (SDC), in collaboration with the St. Catherine North and South Police Divisions.
The main purpose of the forum was to bring together the major stakeholders/agencies within the parish to share various intervention strategies, identify the roles and responsibilities of partners and sensitise the participants regarding Community Safety and Security.
Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, said that since the launch of the community policing programme there has been some “level of calm in the community of Newland.” However, he said, there was much more work to be done.
“There are a number of challenges that we face in Newlands and I am sure it is the same situation for other communities,” he said.
Dr. Wheatley called on citizens to support the police and other agencies in their activities. “No longer can we stand by and say it is the police job. It is clear now that if the community does not support any initiative it cannot go anywhere,” he said. The Mayor also commended staff members of the SDC for doing “a tremendous job” in mobilising residents and stakeholders in reducing the risks within communities.
Member of Parliament for South Central St.Catherine, Sharon Hay-Webster, in her presentation said that agencies must involve citizens in the design and planning of programmes for their communities.
“But the danger that I want us to avoid, is feeling that we must design the programme. It is important for the communities to design the programme with us as leaders, not for us to design and say this is what we are doing,” she said.
Other speakers at the forum were Regional Director, SDC, Edith Morrison; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Community Safety and Security Branch, Jamaica Constabulary Force, John McLean; Acting Development Area Coordinator, SDC , Lloyd Erskine; and community police officers of the
St Catherine North and South Police Divisions, who spoke about community safety and security activities in targeted communities.