SCHOLARS AND POLICE TO EXPLORE SOLUTIONS TO GANG-RELATED CRIMES IN JAMAICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Friday 11th of November 2016 59 19

Following the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between The University of the West Indies, Open Campus and the National Police College of Jamaica (NPCJ), both institutions have collaborated to host a regional conference entitled Policing & Security: Strategies and Solutions in Addressing Gang-related Crimes.

This inaugural conference will be held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge on the Mona Campus of The University of the West Indies from November 22 to 23. This event will form a special part of the observance celebrations of Police Week 2016, and it is the first of its kind in the Caribbean to be spearheaded by practitioners and academia.

Keynote speaker at the event will be Mr. Dextan Dixon, who is the Country Attaché for Jamaica-Cayman Islands within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the USA’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Other presenters at the regional conference will include: Mr. Dave Rampersad, Liaison Officer of Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the Security Attaché from the Canadian High Commission; representatives from other Embassies and High Commissions; senior Jamaican police administrators; senior Jamaican government officials; and senior members of The UWI’s academic staff.

The conference is expected to bring together policy makers, civil society, police officers engaged in crime fighting, social and community workers, government officials, and non-governmental organisations, in a bid to share ideas and to find solutions to address the inherent challenges in gang formation and gang-related crimes. The discussions will seek to bring awareness and solutions to policy gaps and the various socio-political, economic and cultural issues impacting crime in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

Dr. Luz Longsworth, Principal & Pro Vice-Chancellor of UWI Open Campus, states that: “This collaborative effort is expected to bring particular benefits to both police and academia, in that the police will be able to take advantage of academic insights, research and policy advice, while academia will strengthen their knowledge on the challenges members of police force face on a daily basis.”

Commissioner of Police Dr. Carl Williams notes that: “Gang violence has blighted national life for most of Jamaica’s modern history, fueling fear in communities, impacting business and commerce, and reflecting negatively on the country in the international arena. Despite numerous attempts by the police and other groups, the problem remains intractable. This partnership between the JCF and the UWI is, therefore, potentially the most important ever because of the JCF’s vast experience and familiarity with gangs and gang violence at the community level and the technical capacity of UWI to lead in research in critical areas. Cutting edge research informed by a practical understanding of the day to day issues is the ideal starting point in tackling the gang problem and coming up with meaningful solutions.”

Plans are also underway to have key elements of the conference live streamed online.

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