Soft Policing Tactics to Benefit Youth and Communities

Basseterre, St. Kitts, (SKNIS): Over the past eight months, the Ministry of National Security has been leading on a number of initiatives aimed at benefiting youth and communities, said Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary within the ministry.

Appearing on “Working for You” on Wednesday, April 04, Mr. Petty spoke specifically to three initiatives, namely, community policing, the Teens and Police Service (TAPS) Academy and Club, and the formation of community youth groups, all of which are led by Inspector Rosemary Iles-Joseph.

“A community policing team was established around June 2017. In June, July, August, they would have been visible as they walked through communities around St. Kitts,” he said, adding that the programme was interrupted as a result of the 2017 Hurricane Season. “We are about to fully mobilize this team again with about nine professionally trained and experienced police officers who are going to be walking the communities and working in the hotspots. They are going to be involved in building community relationships.”

He explained that the purpose of the TAPS programme is to “explore the social distance between communities, teens and law enforcement” as a way to assist teenagers to understand and work closer with the police. He noted that presently there are three police officers who are fully assigned to secondary schools in St. Kitts.

“The module which is taught includes gangs and conflict resolution; bullying; team building; nutrition and fitness; safe driving; truancy; substance abuse; active shooter; and human trafficking to assist high school students in understanding the police, to address issues which the children themselves may raise and to generally help them to cope with some of these situations,” said Mr. Petty.

The permanent secretary said that the formation of community youth groups is a top priority and is most fruitful at the moment. There are a number of objectives to which the groups thrive on.

“We want to develop a programme to foster positive attitude in the youth of a caring community; to offer solutions to the many problems and issues faced by the youth in the community; to create a positive programme focusing on discipline and good work ethics through mentorship pairing and partnership,” Permanent Secretary Petty stated. “We want to instill the law of respect for self, others and property; to create a brother’s keepers programme which will equally look out for the weak, as well as the strong; to encourage positive self-awareness…; and a system of recognition for those who display positive attitude towards others…”

To date, there are three community youth groups, referred to as “Explorers”, that were formed in Molineux/Phillips Village; Shadwell; and St. Pauls.

The membership of the Explorer Groups around the island should exceed 300 young people by mid-April. This achievement will be realized once the St. Peters Explorers Movement is launched onApril 12.

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