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Take police initiative to the people
Perhaps there has been insufficient national attention given to the 21st-century policing initiative of Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and his senior staff. Perhaps too, the CoP has too easily ceded ground to the criticism of the Police Social and Welfare Association and more recently Minister Jack Warner. It surely still is useful for the CoP and his senior staff to engage in a proactive outreach to sell the ideas in the plan to the people who are to be served by it. Perhaps the best method of dealing with the plan and its proposed solutions should have been from the start for the commissioner and his senior staff to engage in free and open dialogue with all. Such a process would have produced a more relevant and workable dialogue and attitude by all. It is clear too that now that Mr Warner is in a position to object directly to elements of the plan he will not hesitate to do so.
But citizens must now ask themselves what can be so wrong about a plan which has amongst its strategic objectives increasing the capacity for rapid response and upgrading the capacity for investigation and detection. It also advocates the more effective management of human resources in accordance with the needs of individual divisions and in line with the overall requirements of the entire service. Also included in the plan is the continuous development of the human capacity of the service and better management of the operations of the police. Upgrading the technology utilised by the service, traffic management and surveillance systems is another of the very sensible recommendations of the 21st-century plan. Behind the planning framework the aim is to provide the service with a systematic approach to policing that will give the assurance to citizens of their safety. One sure objective to be fulfilled and one which is desperately needed is to dramatically reduce the carnage on the roads. This is a phenomenon which is now running competition for high numbers with the murder rate. In better utilising the human resources of the police service, one programmatic approach recommended is for civilian clerical workers to relieve trained police officers from being cloistered in a police station doing desk work. That is an administrative arrangement which has been going on for decades, with much talk and angst, but yet little or no action being taken.
Another very important strategic initiative identified by the plan is the development of the capacity to gather intelligence and to analyse that information with the ultimate aim of tracking down criminals. One of the often cited retarding factors in police officers being able to respond to calls for help from citizens has been the perceived perennial shortage of officers. However, one suggestion made in the crime plan is that it is not so much a case of insufficient officers in the service, but rather the poor management of those human resources. Sometimes the current system results in more officers than are needed at certain stations at certain times of the day or night; and at other times there is a desperate shortage. Use of 21st-century technology in police work is one vital element of the plan. And it is really impossible for any police service, even in the most remote corners of the populated world, to seek to get by without modern means of research, the capacity to track down criminals and to remove the hindrances to investigating their operations. It may still be that Mr Warner will reject the plan. But given all of the above, he had better have very good reasons for doing so—and a truly outstanding alternative option to offer in its place.
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