Mandeville police reap success from interventions
With an increase in crime not just in the parish, but in several other sections of the island, the police are strengthening community-intervention activities to tackle the problem in Manchester.
The Community Safety and Security Branch at the Mandeville Police Station, which is headed by Sergeant Verona Johnson, frequently holds dialogue with residents and have been able to save a number of lives as a result.
"We find that frequent police presence in communities is necessary for the success of our operations - not after an issue arises but before - with forums and seminars that sensitise the residents on issues that exist and how they can help the police help them," she said.
"Every Sunday morning at 9:30, we can be heard on NCU FM sensitising the general public on domestic violence and crime and violence in general, and we find this an effective method, as we can reach a wider audience," she said.
With Manchester known for a high level of killings resulting from domestic disputes, Johnson states that the collaboration with the Church and the safety and security initiative of the parish, headed by the mayor, has helped to reduce the level of crime.
"Every month, a station in the division (parish) has to have a church service and the opportunity is used to provide mediation, along with the church, in cases. The parish safety and security initiative, along with the police here, hosts several meetings and intervention programmes for particular age groups."
Acknowledging the increasing incidence of violence against children across the island, Johnson said children are a priority on the sensitisation list.
"Among the stations in the parish, between 15 and 20 schools are visited and, working with the school resource officers, we help children to understand how these criminals operate and what they can do to protect themselves. We believe in prevention and that is one of the reasons why we form youth clubs, and I am pleased to say the clubs in Manchester are very much active," she said.
"We are, at the moment, planning a summer camp with the Police Youth Club of Spaldings and it's going to be grand, as we are strengthening our fight against criminal activities against children."
The branch is working to reactivate dormant neighbourhood watches by finding leaders who are willing to work for the cause of all.
"We try to maintain a good relationship with our residents, as we find that is the most effective way to curb the negativity that abounds. We ask that persons contact us any time there is a situation too hard for them to handle. We are here, willing, able to serve and protect," said Johnson.
To contact the Community Safety and Security Branch at the Mandeville Police Station, call Sergeant Verona Johnson Tel: 438-2656 or DSP Bailey- 422-7460 or Corporal Smith at 557-3119. Emails may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.