Waterford police empowering unattached youth
Intervention features skills training, arts programme
A police officer who has expressed intolerance for law breakers believes community policing and youth empowerment must be employed to help the security forces and the nation to solve the expanding crime problem.
Subofficer in charge at the Waterford Police Station in Portmore, St Catherine, Detective Inspector Pilmar Powell,l says she has seen first-hand how young people, left alone to negative influences, can become non-productive citizens. It is why she has chosen to engage especially unattached youth, with a view to rescuing them before they go down a road of crime.
“Our observation within the Waterford police district is that the youths are focused on the arts, so the charge was for us to have more interactive initiatives. After identifying the problem, we then had to find a way to engage these youths. So I came up with the concept of ‘Youths for Transformation through the Arts’,” Powell told The Gleaner at the recent launch of the final product.
According to her, “We are living in a society where there is social decay, and we are seeing a lot of our youths getting involved in gangs and this is contributing to dysfunctional families. So Team Waterford looked through our station plan and decided on a youth talent show as one of our interventions.”Powell said she engaged the stakeholders and put in motion the talent show that attracted some 50 youths from Waterford and surrounding districts.
The contest was divided into elimination, semi-finals, and final rounds. Finalists were required to compose and record a theme song reflecting the name of the initiative which they did. Waterford resident Andrianna Mills emerged the winner.
Mills was given an opportunity to record her winning song at a recording studio, and the single is available on all the major social media platforms.
“I have gone through a complete transformation by getting involved in this Youth Talent for Transformation through the Arts,” Mills said.
“I have been trying for years, but, as a conscious artiste, it is very hard to get in the industry. So I saw the opportunity through this programme and I took it,” she said.
She expressed her admiration for law enforcement.
“I always wanted to be a police officer, but I never got the chance. So, what better way to launch my singing career than through a police force-sponsored competition?” she said.
She used the opportunity to record a song with positive lyrics.
Powell says the social transformation will not be confined to youth development through the arts only, but through skills training via the HEART/NSTA Trust.
“We have (application) forms for HEART programmes at the stations, and the youth are coming to the station to enquire about programmes, especially since the prime minister announced free tuition. We help them to fill out the forms and take them in,” Powell told The Gleaner.