Police call for more partnerships to end inequality
THE OVERWHELMING lesson coming from a three-year project to train police officers on how to deal with vulnerable groups in society, is that more partnerships are needed in order for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to prioritise issues of gender based violence.
So said assistant commissioner of police at the National Police College of Jamaica, Norman Heywood, who told The Gleaner that the programme, which trained more than 50 police officers is well-needed. He disclosed that close to 40 per cent of the reports they receive on a daily basis has to do with gender-based violence. But with the severe resource constraints that the force battles with daily, more collaboration will be necessary to effectively deal with the issue.
“Frankly speaking, there are incidents that are treated with priority, and some incidents will outweigh some. We should be balancing everything, but the reality is that we can’t balance with the limited resources that we have,” he said following the graduation ceremony which took place at the Alhambra Inn in St Andrew.
“Let me put it frankly, we are stretched, we deal with everything, from a call in relation to a threat, to murder, and everything in between. What we need is partnership with support groups for us to do more referrals. It’s just a small number of officers who are trained in how to deal with these issues. If we have more referral agencies, more partnerships, more places Assistant Commissioner of Police Norman Heywood, National Police College of Jamaica, chats with Dr Carolyn Gomes, executive director, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), at the CVC graduation on Wednesday. where after we take the initial and eventually deal with these report we can send persons, I issues,” he said. think that would help a lot,” “I’m seeing a JCF that is Heywood told The Gleaner. more embracing of diversity,
The police officer, however, dealing with everyone equally, sought to reassure that public to serve all. The culture has that there will be tremendous been an issue ... you have improvement in how the force different sub-cultures, and the address issues that have to do police are a product of the with women, children and the society ... and the police officers lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender coming out of this would have community. demonstrated what they have
“Look forward to more quality learnt throughout the years. service, that is spread across a However workshops like these wider diverse population. You have created a space for learning can look forward to police officers and understanding and space for being more aware of the coming together of people from different challenges, the diverse background to impart different sectors in the society knowledge.”
Dr Carolyn Gomes from the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and Kandasi Walton-Levermore from the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life also gave remarks.
CVC and the Jamaica AIDS Support for life are two of six partners implementing a project funded by the United Nations Trust Fund. The three-year project focuses on actions to reduce gender-based violence, particularly violence against women, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, female sex workers, and women living with disabilities.