BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The value of positive and meaningful engagement between law enforcement and the community was stressed to the men and women of Course 43 as they start their training to become full-fledged officers in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty, highlighted this as he addressed the 34 recruits on Jan. 28 at a ceremony to mark the launch of the new training class. He quoted some findings of the May 2015 Final Report on “The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing” that was done in the United States and adapted them to local circumstances.
Under Pillar 1: Building Trust and Legitimacy, said Petty police officers must act fairly and firmly when dealing with cases.
“If they (the public) believe that you are out there spiting them and wilfully doing things they are not going to afford any legitimacy to what you are doing,” he said.
Under Pillar 2: Policy and Oversight, the permanent secretary noted that members of the security forces often patrol and conduct operations in troubled areas, otherwise known as hotspots. He said that crime will only be reduced if there are increases in community engagement and fostering cooperation.
Pillar 3 speaks to: Technology and Social Media.
“We are placing much emphasis on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), on drone technology and other gadgets and the role of social media in investigation that may be used in crime fighting,” said Petty. “I expect that you will receive some exposure to the use of such technology during your course and you will do so in ways that improve your effectiveness, efficiency and evolution without infringing on individual rights.”
Permanent Secretary Petty encouraged the recruits to be attentive during their time in the classroom and in the field.
“Develop a mindset and willingness that enables you to work with and collaborate with community residents to identify problems and help find solutions to problems in the community that you will serve, in order to reduce crime,” said Petty.