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Re: Concerning Crime - A Solution Exists [Re: Diane Campbell] #376832
05/13/10 01:04 PM
05/13/10 01:04 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,554
Birdland - 1 mile north
ScubaLdy Offline
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ScubaLdy  Offline
Hip Hip Hooray - to Mike Campbell
In March I wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the March 27th paper. Here's what I had to say - Mike has really elaborated on it. thanks

There are some good cops and there are some bad cops. I am amazed that Belize has any good cops at all. They are not paid a living wage, are not trusted, are separated from their family and friends and are not given adequate equipment or training.

We are told that the reason for rotation of duty stations is to avoid corruption. The fear is that a bad cop will connect with the criminal element if left too long in one place. WHOA Ė a bad cop can connect with the drug dealers within weeks of arriving on the island. So we give them just two years to not do their job before moving them to the next station?

It seems to me that one of the problems is in the hiring process. What standards are set for acceptance into the force? What is the screening process? Another is paying them wages that a cook can make. Then what are the repercussions for being caught asking for or taking a bride? Taking stolen property? Not responding to a call for help? Drinking while in uniform?

If selection and training were better and police were allowed to settled, along with their family, into a community they would become a part of that community. Itís natural to protect your own and want to improve your living conditions. Let their kids go to school and play with neighborhood kids. Let spouses be involved in community projects. Let the police have pride in their fellow officers and their station.

Letís make our police part of the solution instead of making problems for them. Letís honor the good cops. Then citizens, especially community leaders, MUST stop interfering with police work and let the system work.


Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles
Re: Concerning Crime - A Solution Exists [Re: Gaz Cooper] #376839
05/13/10 02:21 PM
05/13/10 02:21 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 153
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chris45 Offline
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chris45  Offline
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Thanks Gaz. And my apologies to Mr Campbell. Thanks for a great article-right on the money IMHO

Re: Concerning Crime - A Solution Exists [Re: belizeonthebeach] #376849
05/13/10 03:20 PM
05/13/10 03:20 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 121
SAN PEDRO - AMBERGRIS CAYE
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COZMO Offline
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COZMO  Offline
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needs a little bit more thinking, no true..???
Get to know the boys in your neighbourhood.... I live right across from the BDF boys, who everyone seems to not like so much... I love it they are here, crime is decreased immensely! The boys were walking one day - out of uniform, down my one dead end street, neighbours were yelling "Get out of Here, you do not belong!"
I come around the corner, as they are HITAILING it back to the BDF housing, I ask "What is UP?" ... they say, we got chased off the street... I invited them to come back with me, to introduce themselves.... did NOT happen,,, too sad, they are neighbours too!
If accepted as neighbours, and treated like neighbours, maybe, only MAYBE, they will act like neighbours.. we can hope!
Hey to all my BDF Buddies... they take care of our neighbourhood, as far as I can see, for sure


Have a great day
Re: Concerning Crime - A Solution Exists [Re: COZMO] #376852
05/13/10 03:58 PM
05/13/10 03:58 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 8,868
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SP Daily Offline
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SP Daily  Offline
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There's an opportunity for the San Pedro/ San Marcos Neighborhood Watch to help the BDF guys feel welcome. We should invite them to our upcoming gathering and BBQ at the San Pablo Church on May 30th.

Re: Concerning Crime - A Solution Exists [Re: COZMO] #376853
05/13/10 04:02 PM
05/13/10 04:02 PM
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 6,963
San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye...
Amanda Syme Offline

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Amanda Syme  Offline
Thanks COZMO. I have always asked that if anybody in the vicinity of the BDF Barracks to please tell me if there are any concerns, complaints etc. Finally one of the neighbours told me a few things and the problems were resolved the next day. Its about communication and respect. Absolutely the BDF, Coast Guard and ADU police are neighbours in San Pablo.

Please pm me regarding the situation - I would like to work on building improved relationships between the neighbours, the neighbourhood and the troops. Thanks.

Re: Concerning Crime - A Solution Exists [Re: Amanda Syme] #377957
05/22/10 12:03 PM
05/22/10 12:03 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,958
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Marty  Online Happy OP
sent to Amandala.... this version a lil more "national" in scope...

CONCERNING CRIME: A SOLUTION EXISTS!

The crime situation in Belize has escalated to the point where it has become the major topic in many conversations and personal safety has become a prime concern for many. Crime prevention, detection and successful prosecution require close cooperation between well trained police officers and the community they serve. The community must trust the police to be honest and fair and the police must trust the community to be supportive and helpful. The cooperation between police and the community and the level of training of the police officers are the two most important factors in the effective policing of the community.

Throughout the Nation there is a distinct disconnect between the community and the police. This is true in spite of the obvious fact that the police are paid by the taxes of the community to provide protection and order necessary in a Civil Society. Police activities, or lack of, often form the butt of jokes by children and teens who let their disrespect be known at an early age. Indeed respect must be earned and it is difficult for a parent to instill respect for the law when it is sometimes difficult to respect those who are paid to enforce it. This is truly a serious problem and is no longer a laughing matter.

To move forward we must admit that the Belize National Police Force in its present form is not able to deal with the rampant violent crime that is shaking the very foundations of our Nation. Conviction rates are abysmal and escapes from custody are common. The community has lost faith in the police to protect them from the worst elements of our society as they are paid to do. Crime is a community problem and can only be dealt with by the community. The root of this problem lies within the very preconceptions that have formed police policy and organization for all these years. We have never grown from a colonial police force to a community based police force. The Belize National Police Force is an extension of the colonial system where all power was retained by the Governor and communities were not allowed to police themselves furthering their dependence on the colonial government and making them much easier to control. Our very small population was also a major factor.

This structure and long established policies in the police force are primarily responsible for the disconnect between the police and those they are paid to serve and protect. Without effective cooperation between community and police crime control will never be possible. The long established policy of rotating officers around the country has been our downfall. The preconception was that officers would become corrupted if allowed to stay in one place for too long. Of course this assumes that both the officers and the community they serve are basically dishonest. That should never be a problem with a well trained officer.

Our police are never from the community they are assigned to and are usually forced to live in substandard conditions. Having no real ties to the community they are regarded as outsiders and do not receive the full cooperation of the community they serve. Knowing they will be transferred in a few years there is no motivation to help the community and further they have no apparent responsibility for their actions to the community, only to the chain of command. The result is that the community does not trust the police and the police do not show respect for the community. They are trained to resist attempts at friendship with residents as it makes them supposedly more susceptible to corruption. The result is an unmotivated improperly trained police force that receives little support from the public in general. This antagonistic relationship between police and community is exploited by the criminal element.

The police must be part of the community as well as answerable to the community they serve in order to be effective. Police from top to bottom should be hired and fired by the particular community they serve based on their performance. We should have complete say as to who is policing our community and if they do not perform they must be replaced. Becoming a police is a commitment to the community. A police officer should love his community and regard the job as a permanent position. Ideally they will share the love of community that we all have and be motivated to do the best job. We have no opportunity to vet our police and know little about who is policing us. Officers who get in trouble in one way or the other are simply shuffled around to various unsuspecting communities often with tragic results. Whose fault is that?

If the police were answerable directly to the people of the communities they serve we would all be able to work together and bring our crime epidemic under control. The infection has spread from Belize City to infect all the towns. Our elected community leaders do not have the power to demand performance from our police even though it is our money that pays them. This is an unacceptable situation. The trips from Belmopan by various senior police, meetings with the various business groups and marches against crime are ineffective in an ever widening spiral of violence. Starch, polish and posturing will not win the war. We need well trained, well paid, law enforcement professionals working directly with the community.

I notice one of the San Pedro neighborhood watches has hired guards and they are proving effective. If we cannot control our own police in the future all the neighborhood watches will hire armed guards for their neighborhoods. The next step will be untrained militias and private police forces. It is much better that we take control of our police and take back our towns and country from the criminal elements who are attacking our society with impunity.

Any thought that we are not capable of or responsible enough to handle our own police without help from Belmopan is ridiculous. It is Belmopan who cannot control their police and our crime epidemic. The buck in the towns should stop at the Chief Police Officer and the Mayor. All police officers should be hired by the community they serve. If the Chief cannot perform or control his officers we must replace him and anyone else that is not giving 100% in our fight against crime. Under this system of community policing, police brutality would be rare and crooked cops would be dealt with quickly. We should not be taking direction from Belmopan as to how to proceed in our individual communities. There are many differences in our individual communities that necessitate different approaches to achieve effective law enforcement.

Criminals take comfort in our penal system. Currently a sentence of 10 years actually means 5 years at most as inmates are credited with both day and night. That must stop now. As we have problems getting murder convictions we should pass a 3 strikes and youíre out law. Three convictions for certain classes of major crime would result in an automatic life sentence. The operators of Hattieville should be held responsible (big fines) for the frequent number of escapes.

Our leaders have proven unable to meet the crisis and we the people of Belize must step up to the plate and take responsibility for our own security. It is time we fought back. I am confident we can do a much better job of managing our security than those currently charged with that task. As it is criminals laugh at the police and the courts and whose fault is that? Without dramatic changes we will not move forward. There is a lot we can do to fight back.

Mike Campbell, San Pedro Town 602-1616

Re: Concerning Crime - A Solution Exists [Re: belizeonthebeach] #378216
05/25/10 01:45 AM
05/25/10 01:45 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 434
Belize
Barefoot Skinny Offline
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Barefoot Skinny  Offline
I had been suggesting a "Beverly Hills Cops" type of approach since the first A.C. Chamber of Commerce meeting. How hard would it be, if needed, to pay a little extra to have a well put together local force? A little extra could go a long way in advanced training, loyalty, and communication as well.
I do agree with Mike. Nothing will change until it is a community based effort on both sides. And the watch groups are proving affective.
However,the last time I reported a crime, it took almost 15 minutes on the phone to give the police directions to a place they had never heard of. How could they know? The new PC's had only been on the island less than 2 weeks.


PS. Find out what I'm up to at www.broadjam.com/barefootskinny

Your's not in the Caye of "A"
Re: Concerning Crime - A Solution Exists [Re: Barefoot Skinny] #378218
05/25/10 04:25 AM
05/25/10 04:25 AM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 538
Caye Caulker
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Dane Offline
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Dane  Offline
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The idea that a "local" police force would support the community without special treatment for their relatives friends and those who have a little something for them is quite naive.
They have a good reason to move the cops before they have a hundred in laws and twenty neighbors who give them water in dry season.These guys you meet in uniform are not folks who just need to be paid locally and justice will be returned to the land.
Take a close look at other things that are controlled locally like giving out lots, the Lions Club treasury,etc. and you will see the future evolution of those local police.
The concept of a police force beholden to the community is a nice idea until you recall that there is no community apart from the individuals in it. They each are going to want something from that officer and it will not include arresting their neighbor or brother in law, or unblocking their beach, or drunk driving charges,or harrasing noisy dog owners if you are one.

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