Police, church join forces against crime in Hanover
Hundreds of residents of Hanover joined ranks with the local police on New Year's Day on a six-mile trek from Pell River to Green Island to register their stance against crime and violence in the parish and to show solidarity with the forces of law and order.
The march, under the Ministry of National Security's 'Unite for Change' initiative, was led by congregants of churches in the Cauldwell division in collaboration with the Hanover Community Safety and Security Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. It attracted support from police youth clubs, neighbourhood watches, citizens' associations, and other community groups.
Faith Gospel Bandwagon from Cave Valley headed the procession of placard-bearing marchers, whose numbers snowballed from approximately 30 at the start to about 300 before culminating at the Green Island Taxi Stand.
Their messages were: 'One murder is one too (many)'; 'One rape is one too (many)'; 'One domestic violence is one too (many)'.
The marchers sang and prayed as they made stops in districts such as Cauldwell, Friendship, and Prospect.
Pastor of the Calvary Gospel Assembly Church of God in Cauldwell, the Rev Revern Grant, who is spearheading the Unite for Change programme in Hanover, said that the march was aimed at uniting well-thinking parishioners in the fight against crime and violence, indiscipline on the roadways, child abuse, and domestic disputes, among other concerns.
"We want to show this monster (devil) that the church is not comfortable with what he is doing in this island," Grant said as he expressed confidence that the partnership between the church and the police would counter crime and violence in Hanover and Jamaica.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Sharon Beeputt, who is head of the Hanover Community Safety and Security Branch, said that the march was part of the police's efforts to win public support for their crime-fighting initiatives in the parish.
She said that the march was successful in meeting its objectives, which included raising awareness of the need for increased community participation; building bridges of friendship and collaboration between the community and the police; and the need to forge and maintain lines of communication between the two groups.
Beeputt said that starting in February, there would be a number of follow-up projects in the communities that participated in the march, with focus to be placed on areas regarded as crime hot spots such as Green Island, Johnson Town, and Montpelier.
These communities will benefit from social interventions and anti-crime operations.
Unite for Change, launched by National Security Minister, Peter Bunting in December 2013, is a national movement and public awareness campaign aimed at mobilising law-abiding citizens to work together in the fight against crime.