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By Augustus Carr
The role of the police today is far different from yesteryear. Police are now your mentors, community support officers, advisors etc.
One of the reasons why the United Kingdom has been so successful with its policing strategies is that it makes neighbourhood policing a key feature of its approach to crime prevention.
Neighbourhood policing creates an avenue for the police to address the community concerns, social and security needs.
The United Kingdom also conducts annual inspections of its 43 police forces through Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMIC), which therefore means that police reforms in the UK is continued work in progress.
There are sometimes thematic reviews or force-wide reviews. A thematic analysis might be done to address shortcomings in particular area of the Force.
A force-wide review will be done to give a holistic picture of the entire organisation. Such analysis would identify gaps, strengths and weaknesses.
Various recommendations usually arise out of these reviews, which are address by the government and respective Commissioners.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines should take a similar approach like the UK by conducting yearly Inspections of its’ police force to improving it.
This would lead to better reforms such as the establishment of a police training college, the severing of non-core policing functions, the creation of a professional standards unit, better pay and working conditions, a budget fit for purpose, investment in training and development, better road policing, improvements in its investigative capacity and many others.
There are some Vincentians who have serve in some British Overseas Territory Police Services in the Caribbean that can assist with these reviews.
One such person is George Jackson, former Commissioner of Police of the Bermuda Police Service. Mr Jackson has over 30 years experience as a police officer.
Bermuda has one of the most advance Police Forces in the Region. This was built partly by Commissioner Jackson.
The government should, therefore, seek to engage Commissioner Jackson and others to assist where possible.
In addition to reviews, there has to be a clear strategic plan with measurable outcomes. The plan must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART).
Community engagement has to be an integral part of this strategy. Such approach can be achieved through the deployment of neighbourhood policing teams, the establishment of the block and cacoon watches, targeting of offenders, hot spot policing etc.
Essentially, one has to adopt a problem-oriented policing model, supported by aspects community engagement and evidence-based policing to get the crime situation in SVG under control.
A problem-oriented strategy allows you to target specific crime problems and develop meaningful and workable solutions in partnership with the government, community, churches, the private sector, media, non-governmental and governmental organisations.
Let’s advocate for a review of the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force to make it fit for purpose.
There is no doubt in my mind that our police force has many competent people. However, it is my view that there is a need for more accountable and visionary leadership, a better structure, a robust training and development strategy define policies and a well-articulated strategic plan.