Cops say lack of social intervention is making their jobs harder
The failure of the State to ensure structured social intervention in depressed communities is being blamed for the problems the police face in keeping the lid on crimes in these areas.
Addressing a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum, Senior Superintendent Assan Thompson, who heads the Police Community Safety Division, lamented the absence of efforts to improve the social conditions in these communities.
Thompson argued that it is imperative that once the police complete an operation in a community to disrupt, displace and dismantle criminal operations, the state agencies must move in immediately to begin the reformation process.
"Once we achieve those three objectives, then the next thing is what we have been crying for over the years, because it is all about contain, displace and social intervention. We need that, but most of the time it is just talked about," said Thompson.
"For instance, we went into Payne Avenue (South West St Andrew) and the police had it under control, but as we moved out everything went back," declared Thompson.
sharp decline in crime
He noted that it was a similar story in Grants Pen in North East St Andrew, where a structured community policing programme coupled with tough law-enforcement actions produced a sharp decline in crime.
"Fifteen months would have passed without a single shot (being fired in the community) and now the crime is back."
Thompson charged that agencies with responsibility to carry out social intervention need to pick up after the police have gone into these communities so that law-abiding residents can start anew and prevent the cycle of violence from continuing.
The need for social intervention was endorsed by Horace Levy, a member of the board of Peace Management Initiative.
However, Levy argued that along with that social intervention, there needs to be more community policing which residents will not find intimidating.
The Ministry of National Security has endorsed the need for social intervention in these communities and has introduced the Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).
The CSJP is a multi-faceted crime-and-violence-prevention initiative, which now provides crime-and-violence-prevention services to 39 vulnerable and volatile communities, spanning eight parishes.
Phase One of the project was launched in December 2009 and was expanded from 29 to 39 communities in January 2011 as a result of a merger with the Ministry of National Security's Community Security Initiative, another crime prevention initiative.