Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Erwin Boyce, is concerned about the lack of pride in our African heritage with the Middle Eastern names given to local “blocks” in depressed urban areas.
The senior police officer pointed to this lack of racial pride while making a tour of the Chapman Lane and New Orleans earlier today accompanied by other senior officers and officers of the community post.
“I find they preach one thing in the wider society, but at the same time the youth or leaders demonstrate something else, and I am speaking about people on the block who people think should be respected. I am concerned over the direction in which the society is going.
“For instance, you get Gaza, Tel-a-viv, Lebanon and these are places that are not connected to our African past. Sometimes you wonder what direction you are picking up. You do not see enough of our past, you see it from the perspective of the radio and the television. They take images from the media and try to translate them into their particular surroundings. To me it is the wrong direction,” Boyce argued.
Boyce expressed the hope that persons who often speak about our African heritage would try to influence the thinking of these people and attempt to direct them into something that is wholesome.
The senior cop explained that they did assessments of manpower and looked at whether the force was getting the best from the persons they had deployed.
He gave the assurance that the force was pleased with the improvement of the behaviour following the community audits, and praised the exemplary conduct of the officers deployed in the community post.
Boyce said: “We have no complaints of the officers deployed in the Chapman Lane/ New Orleans area, but obviously there are areas of policing that may very well require a larger community input. We are into the whole community exercise.
“There are other communities that present some challenges that we need to be pro-active with and be there in terms of setting the agenda. Obviously it has to be a collaborative effort. It cannot be an effort on law enforcement alone. We need to bring the social agencies on board. We need to have the media to project the positives of the areas.”
He stressed that in spite of the efforts of the law enforcement officials, the people of the areas must demonstrate a desire to change their behaviours. Boyce explained that was why he emphasised “tough love” because “we have to be forceful and represent law and order in the communities”.
He acknowledged that there would always be some difficulties with people who deviated from the accepted course but added “we ensure that they were brought to justice”.
In response to a query on the possibility of some communities returning to a state of disorder, Boyce gave the assurance that they would keep their hands on “the pulse” of the communities. He stressed that the establishment of outposts in some areas was a work in progress that ensured that the law enforcement agency was there for law abiding citizens.
Boyce pointed out that in speaking to the community officers it had been recognised that there had to be greater participation of the churches.
“We need to get church leaders in the community to lead by example. Give people a reference point that is distinct from a materialistic focus,” he said.
“Given the instances of behaviours that we would not want, we are going to ensure that crime does not pay. If you commit the crime you will face the consequences, but we are going to be fair in terms of our toughness. We are going to ensure that law-abiding citizens get the best from the police at all times.”
Boyce pointed out that they also paid attention to such areas as Brittons Hill, Crab Hill, Six Roads and the Ivy.
Pointing out that effective policing depended on accurate information, Boyce lauded the contribution being made by citizens in this area. (NC)†
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