“Your duty now is to prepare the populace to embrace the philosophy of community policing
Roseau, Dominica – August 25, 2008………Commissioner of Police, Mr. Matthias Lestrade has told granduands of a “Community Policing -Train the Trainers Workshop 2008” of their responsibility to the community following the conclusion of a ten (10) day workshop.
Community Policing is a collaborative effort between the police and the community that seeks to identify and solve community problems.
At the closing ceremony of the workshop, which was held recently, Commissioner Lestrade told the granduands: “To you the granduands, I say now, that you have been trained to go out and to preach the word far and wide and deliver the good news. The duty is now yours to prepare the populace to properly and totally embrace the philosophy of community policing…..”
Mr. Lestrade noted that the concept of community policing is not a recent phenomenon. “Viewed from one perspective, the principles of community policing can be traced back to some of policing oldest traditions. What is new, however, is that it is a policing style that is responsive to the needs of the community and involves the redesigning of roles and functions for all police personnel”.
In his remarks at the closing ceremony, Minister for National Security, Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore said that members of the public are demanding more from the Dominica Police Force.
“I have been told and advised by persons from the various communities where Dr. St. Jean and the police officers met and with the interaction with the public… people are talking. They are saying they want more vigilance. The public is saying we want more police presence. The public is saying we want faster response to complaints when they are being made. The public is saying they want more confidentiality when information is given to the police. The question is how we use this community policing programme to address those fundamental issues.”
The workshop was facilitated by Quality of Life Associates Inc led by Dominican-born Sociologist and Criminologist, Dr. Peter K.B St. Jean. The team also included Mr. Vernon White, Chief of Police, Ottawa, Canada.
Dr. St. Jean, while acknowledging the level of enthusiasm in the Force and in the community itself, recognised that harder work needs to be done “within the Police Force than within the community itself”.
Community policing represents a bold new approach to law enforcement. It represents a comprehensive attack on community problems and an ethos where the police are more focused on community concerns and problems, responding to calls for service and effecting arrests.