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#450214 - 11/01/12 12:14 PM Placencia's Novel Crime Solution
Marty Offline
As those crime figures indicate, all around the country, crime is one of the areas of social breakdown that every community is battling against. But the residents of the Placencia Peninsula are taking an active role in its prevention.

The representatives of most the major organizations in Placencia hired experts to conduct surveys on what the residents wanted to see improved in their community.

The residents indicated that they wanted a better police presence in the area, and as a result the business community and stakeholders secured funding for an initiative to erect a mobile checkpoint on the Placencia Road, as the only entry/exit point into the area.

The proposal was taken to the Ministry of National Security, and they embraced it as a model of the community trying to bridge the divide between the police department and the community.

Today, representatives from the Placencia Steering Committee met with the Minister of National Security, to sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding to implement the police mobile checkpoint.

We spoke to the Chair of the committee who told us about the significance of the MOU.

Here's what he had to say:

Stewart Krohn - Chair, Peninsula 20/20 Steering Committee
"We looked for ways of how we could nip crime in the bud on the peninsula, and we realized that because there is only one road to and from the peninsula, that would be a good chokepoint to see who's coming, whose going, and use it as kind of an intelligence gathering exercise. At the same time, we have a lot more tourist who are renting and driving cars, to just kind of give them the reassurance that are people looking out for their safety. So, we formulated a plan to make it a mobile checkpoint. We canvassed our private sector and business community to see if the financial support was there, and it was. And we put this proposal to the Ministry of National Security, and worked back and forth on the details because police matters, it's very important that the Government monopolizes control. As much as we, civilians, would want to call the shots, it's a joint effort. And we worked out this memorandum of understanding as to how this checkpoint would be manned. That was just one of a number of recommendations that we made, including the upgrading of the police post. And I have to say that the Government has been good to its word, and what we agreed to, they've followed through to. Now, it's etched on black and white, on paper. Now, we will go to the implementation stage."

In the next 2 or 3 months it will be active. The Government of Belize is hoping to adopt this model in other communities across the country.

Channel 7


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#450221 - 11/01/12 12:39 PM Re: Placencia's Novel Crime Solution [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Police and B.T.I.A. sign M.O.U. for 24-hour checkpoint on Placencia Road

The Ministry of National Security and the Steering Committee of the Peninsula 2020 Initiative which includes the Placencia and Seine Bight Village Councils, the Placencia B.T.I.A., and a host of related organizations, signed a memorandum of understanding earlier today. The M.O.U. was designed to curb crime in the Peninsula. It’s a proactive initiative since a week ago eight minors from Independence Village beat a man to death in Placencia. Essentially both the residents of Placencia and the police will form a twenty-four hour checkpoint on the Placencia road to prevent crime and to buffer one of the main organs to the village. Minister of National Security John Saldivar and Chairman of the Placencia B.T.I.A., Stewart Krohn signed the agreement at the Queen Street Police Station.

 

Stewart Krohn, Chairman, Placencia B.T.I.A.

Stewart Krohn

“What we’re talking about is a—for a lack of a better term—kind of an institutionalized mobile checkpoint; that is the private sector on the peninsula is putting funds together to purchase a recreational vehicle that will give us, the people operating the checkpoint, all weather capability. If people have to be detained, they can be detained and questioned within the confines of the recreational vehicle that we will have. It is kind of a step up. It more closely resembles the Mexican style of checkpoints that if you drive through Southern Mexico, you would be aware that this is kinda how they operate. This checkpoint will also be more of a tourist friendly checkpoint and we will be asking the B.T.B. for some training resources to actually train our local police force in how to use more tourist friendly methods. To this end, the checkpoint will also be manned not just by regular police, but also by elements of the tourist police unit and by the special constables. The special constables program is a very important part of what is being done on the Placencia peninsula and that the resource of the ministry of national security are just not large enough to provide the kind of full-time police presence that all of us would like, but we know we can’t afford. So this volunteer element of special constables and citizens on patrol is a key element on this as this checkpoint will be manned by a mixture of regular police, TPU and special constables and citizens on patrol.”

 

John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“Together we will solve these problems and I know that as we continue to say together we will the crime continues unabated. Even as we speak, there was an hour or so ago, another murder on our streets here in Belize City. But it will take time and all I can ask is the patience of the Belizean people as we work together as one Belizean people to solve this greatest challenge that has faced us in I will think the last two or three decades since the independence of our country. There is now a renewed focus on the part of the Ministry of National Security and on the part of the Police Department to reemphasize the participation of communities in the fight against crime. This memorandum that we will sign today, as I said, should serve as a model, but I also recognize that every community will have its own particular and peculiar conditions and the model may have to vary from community to community. It is not all the communities for instance that has the business support and the business base upon which some of these initiatives are based. Other communities with less means will have to find other ways of contributing to the partnership between the police and the community. We’re going to be moving all across the country getting the community involved. The program which is a COP program, a Citizen on Patrol Program, as Stuart described it just now, will require each and every able-bodied member of society to volunteer; to help us to police our various neighborhoods and communities.”

 

The checkpoint will be based in a recreational vehicle (RV) that will provide shelter and administrative space for the checkpoint personnel and will be equipped with devices to establish an efficient operating environment including lighting, signage and communications equipment.

Channel 5


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