|Police say changes starting to make a difference|
|Wednesday, 29 September 2010 14:48|
Improved and expanded neighborhood and community policing and a change in police patrol practices “appear to be beginning to bear fruit and improve police effectiveness,” according to Assistant Commissioner Territorial Divisions and Operations Dave Ryder.
Ryder made that assessment in a Sept. 29 statement to update the country on efforts by police to make the Turks and Caicos Islands a safer place from crime that has been on the rise during the last few years.
On Providenciales, police have made special efforts to create Neighborhood Watch programs and other community initiatives in areas like Kew Town, Five Cays and Blue Hills, and on Grand Turk.
In some Provo communities, the Community Assisted Police Patrolling Program (CAPPS) has members of the community performing patrols of their areas.
“Much of that experience has been applied to restructuring uniform operations and trying to modernise operational policing and bringing working practices up to date. A very difficult task when you consider the state of our buildings, our (information technology) and infrastructure.”
Community policing staff has been increased from one officer for the entire country to four on Provo — Inspector Hilton Duncan, U.K. Sgt. Nigel Couch, Constables Michael Lumsden and Francesco Padua.
“Full time dedicated neighbourhood/community constables are needed on the ground to engage with our communities face to face and deliver a more structured approach to community policing,” Duncan said.
Where Grand Turk historically had no dedicated community policing officers, now Sgt. Sandy Connell-Williams and Constable Malcolm Smith are in charge on the capital island.
“We are so happy to be working so closely with all the community, and I especially believe our efforts with the school children, who are the future generations of the Turks and Caicos Islands, will set a good foundation for trust between the police and community and help them achieve good citizenship,” Connell-Williams said.
Officers from the neighbourhood/community policing unit regularly perform patrols across the other islands, and Inspector Duncan, Sgt. Nigel Couch and the Command Team recently patrolled on foot in North and Middle Caicos.
In the future, Ryder said each island will have either a full time dedicated community policing officer, or a dual role officer who will take care of community policing and act as a central point of contact for community issues.
One recent advance that has helped police response to crime is the implementation of the 911 emergency program.
Police patrol practices are being changed to get more officers on the streets and to increase uniform patrol visibility and improve response times.
But major challenges still exist in vehicle reliability and availability and in radio communications, Ryder said. The poor state of Main Station on Providenciales remains a critical threat to delivering a good service and has been for many years.
The governor’s Advisory Council recently approved the start of retrofitting the Myrtle Rigby Clinic in Providenciales for use by Fire and Rescue Services, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force and 911.
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