Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (March 23, 2015)--A five-day course on social crime prevention will be taught to a cadre of 20 police officers of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service’s (TTPS) Community Policing Division April 13 – 18, 2015 under the Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP). RAPP seeks to:
- Enhance the capacity of young people, police and justice sector officials to work together on crime prevention. This entails promoting attitudinal and behavioral change through classroom and field exercises that strengthen the justice sector’s understanding of community needs as well as the public’s support of their work.
- Build mutual trust between these groups to identify and anticipate common causes of crime. This is done through outreach and mentoring activities that encourage government-citizen collaboration.
This is the first in a series of courses for TTPS members, the defense force, prisons, and officials from the ministries of National Security, Community Development, Education, Youth, People and Social Development, as well as civil society. It is part of a larger collaborative effort that seeks to address youth crime and violence. It involves the judiciary and technical assistance from the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). RAPP is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
This course will be led by four facilitators who are part of a 26-person team of TTPS and other officials accredited by RAPP to teach and mentor others in the implementation of social crime prevention practices. These practices seek to address the root causes of crime and encourage a better relationship between the police and the public and the coordination of community efforts among key stakeholders.
The facilitators will focus on risk factors that lead youth to become involved in crime and violence, as well as protective factors that can be put in place to prevent it. They will also look at techniques to help participants improve their ability to work with youth, their families and their communities. Emphasis will be made on improving communication and leadership skills, and applying approaches that enhance planning, information sharing and evidenced-based programming.
The program will also highlight the importance of interagency collaboration in social crime prevention. By working more effectively across agencies, as well as in close collaboration with schools and communities, justice officials can more appropriately respond to and prevent crime and violence among youth.
The cornerstone of this course will involve developing community action plans. Participants will identify an issue their communities are facing, and solutions for addressing that concern. Once created, these action plans are meant to be adapted in collaboration with community members and youth, as stakeholders in the process. RAPP will be working with participants on the implementation and evaluation of select action plans. These might include public campaigns to address crime and violence, clean up a neighborhood, or working with youth on recreational, learning or vocational activities.
By working collaboratively with key stakeholders, TTPS will enhance existing social crime prevention practices. According to Yolande De Leon, PADF's country coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago, “some key benefits to be derived from this program are networking, greater coordination of efforts and more efficient use of limited resources.”
PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2014, it helped more than 15 million people in 27 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Colombia, Haiti, Suriname, Belize and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. www.padf.org
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) advises the President, Secretary of State, other bureaus in the Department of State, and other departments and agencies within the U.S. Government on the development of policies and programs to combat international narcotics and crime. INL programs seek to reduce the entry of illegal drugs into the United States; and to minimize the impact of international crime on the United States and its citizens. www.state.gov/j/inl
The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is a regional security partnership between the United States and the nations of the Caribbean to combat the drug trade and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security. The United States, CARICOM member nations, and the Dominican Republic are improving citizen safety throughout the Caribbean by working together to: substantially reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security, and promote social justice.