ABOUT the Community Policing Initiative
The build out of the Explorers Youth Clubs is supported in part by the activities of the Community Policing Initiative Team that is also part of the Social Intervention Programmes that are being coordinated by the Ministry of National Security, Office of the Permanent Secretary. Police Inspector Rosemarie Isles Joseph is the Leader of the Community Policing Team.
Since June 2017, the Ministry of National Security has been building out a robust Social Intervention Programme, which includes a Community Policing Initiative. A Team of nine (9) experienced, professional and highly motivated Police Officers, of high integrity, have been engaging the public on a full time basis: in schools, community settings, businesses, churches , etc. A major emphasis in their work to date has been with the youth, through the development of the Explorers Community Youth Clubs and the Teen and Police Service (TAPS) Academy in secondary schools..
The procedures that guide the operations of the Community Policing Initiative broadly represent a the Cure Violence Social Intervention Programme, an adaptation of the internationally acclaimed Cure Violence Health Model (applied in Chicago, for example) and uses the same three components that are used to reverse epidemic disease outbreaks. It provides a framework for the work of the Community Policing Team under the following three components:
(ii) Reducing the risk of the highest risk (among at-risk youth).
(iii) Changing community norms.
(i) Direct and interrupt potentially violent conflicts
Community Policing Officers will attempt to prevent shootings by identifying and mediating potentially lethal conflicts in the community, and following up to ensure that the conflict does not reignite.
Prevent retaliations – Ideally, whenever a shooting happens, Community Policing Officers immediately work in the community to try cool down emotions and prevent retaliations – working with victims, friends and family of the victim, and anyone else who is connected with the event.
Mediate ongoing conflicts – Community Policing Officers identify ongoing conflicts by talking to key people in the community about ongoing disputes, recent arrests, recent prison releases, and other situations and use (mediation) techniques to resolve them peacefully.
Keep conflicts ‘Cool’ – Community Policing Officers follow up with conflicts for as long as needed, in an attempt to ensure that the conflict does not become violent.
(ii) Identify and treat highest risk
Community Policing Officers, supported by other selected community personnel, work with the highest risk to make them less likely to commit violence by meeting them where they are at, talking to them about the costs of using violence, and helping them to obtain the social services they need – such as job training.
Access Highest risk – Community Policing Officers utilize their trust with high risk individuals to establish contact, develop relationships, begin to work wit the people most likely to be involved in violence.
Change behaviours – Community Policing officers engage with high risk individuals to convince them to reject the use of violence by discussing the cost and consequences of violence and teaching and encouraging alternative responses to situations.
(Assist in) providing Treatment – Community Policing Officers assist with providing for the needs of high risk, for example, assisting them with finding employment, as well as, assisting and encouraging them to leave gangs.
1. Community Policing Officers engage leaders in the community as well as community residents, local business owners, faith leaders, service providers, and the high risk, conveying the message that violence should not be viewed as normal but as a behaviour that can be changed.
Organize community – Community Policing Officers coordinate with existing and establish new community clubs, neighbourhood associations, etc.
Spread Positive Norms – Community Policing Officers, in collaboration with NGOs etc, participate in events that convey the message that violence is not acceptable.
Implementation Considerations: The Cure Violence Health Model has been successfully replicated around the world. Here in St. Kitts and Nevis, through the Community Policing Initiative, an attempt is being made to adapt the model to guide community policing initiatives. It is necessary to find personnel in the various communities who are willing to step up and to ‘champion the cause’, in support of the community policing initiatives. Such a person could be a pastor, a representative of a community organization, or even a concerned citizen. Community Policing Officers will initiate the process by obtaining support from key stakeholders in the community, community organizations, youth groups and clubs, and other Police, etc.
Through engagements with the Explorers Youth Club development, the Community Policing Team uses the opportunities to interact with parents, administration in schools, church leaders and other community interest groups, and solicit their support in crime reduction and prevention efforts.