Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, has emphasised that there must be strong social intervention programmes, working in tandem with the crime control strategies, to ensure that significant rehabilitation and regeneration is taking place to break the cycle of crime.
"Criminal gangs have permeated our society, recruiting our youth, especially young men. These gangs wield significant control over the communities in which they operate, instituting fear in the constituents of these communities," Mr. Bunting said.
He added that the execution of an effective anti-gang strategy will therefore require an integrated approach, called a “clear, hold and build” strategy.
The Minister was making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 17.
Mr. Bunting explained that the strategy entails ‘clearing’ gangs out of entire communities; ‘holding’ those areas by maintaining a strong, continuous police presence to provide lasting security, and then ‘building’ a robust civil society by partnering with other government agencies and non-Governmental organisations (NGOs), to provide education, training, economic opportunities, health care and prompt justice.
In the meantime, Mr. Bunting said the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Community Safety and Security will now focus on the ‘build’ component of the anti-gang strategy, by “ensuring that social interventions are targeted at permanently reducing the levels of violence and resolving the underlying social problems that foster a culture where criminality is seen as desirable."
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Community Safety and Security co-ordinates the various policies and programmes to support safer communities generally.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter