Police and community relationship receives boost

Featured speaker Inspector Vaughn Henderson

Tabernacle, St. Kitts, January 20, 2012 (SKNIS): The relationship between the police and the community is being strengthened through a series of town hall meetings, the first of which was held in the Tabernacle district on Thursday night.

Senior officers from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis police force came together with residents of the area at Edgar T. Morris Primary School and engaged in passionate discussion about working together to curb criminal activity.

“These meetings are important to show people in the community who the police are and to encourage dialogue between the police and the people of the Tabernacle area” said District ‘B’ Divisional Commander Inspector Zanhestel Hector in his brief overview.

Sergeant Oral Liburd, Officer with responsibility for the Tabernacle Police Station, in giving an overview of crimes reported over the past year in that district, spanning Bellevue to Lodge Villages, said the major reports investigated were drug offences, burglary and wounding. He encouraged residents to exercise vigilance in ensuring personal and property safety, including vehicles, as police realized an increase in larceny of smaller items such as mobile phones and other small electronics.

The featured speaker of the evening, Inspector Vaughn Henderson, spoke ‘from the heart’ in saying he believed that one of the biggest impacts on the relationship between the police and the community is the issue of unprofessionalism.

“Unprofessional conduct destroys trust in the police, reduces general productivity and wastes scarce resources” said Inspector Henderson. “Police must understand it’s their responsibility to carry out the mission of the police force. If the police is brave and courageous to do their jobs fairly, the public will have more confidence in them.”

As Deputy Divisional Commander, the Inspector saw his role as more than just managing crime fighting in his district. It entails making sure that all reports against police officers under his command are dealt with expeditiously, ensuring regular training for officers – especially in customer service, and motivating and inspiring them to work hard at all times. This can only be done, according to Henderson, by setting a good example for his men.

On the concept of community policing, the speaker explained that other regions who have borrowed strictly from the United States model have failed because they did not tailor their efforts to fit the local culture.

“There is a need for the police to go beyond the traditional boundaries of community policing to connect with the community” said Henderson. “Available modern technology must be utilized to strengthen police-community relationship.”

Inclosing, the Inspector offered some general crime prevention tips to all present. Out of a short question and answer session came the understanding that the Tabernacle and surrounding communities can expect to see, among other things, increased foot and bicycle patrol, greater police presence and confidentiality in dealing with the concerns or reports from the public.

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