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Jul 16, 2018

IMPACT Justice: 70 Cops Learn Conflict Resolution Techniques

A five-day training course on conflict resolution for police officers began today in Belize City. The training is part of the Impact Justice project, a regional initiative in the Caribbean funded by the Government of Canada. It aims to equip police offices with a set of skills which will allow them to successfully act as mediators to prevent the further escalation of any argument or disagreement. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

From the ranks of inspectors to constables, seventy police officers from precincts throughout the country today began a five-day course on how to successfully resolve conflicts. The conflict mediation and resolution certification course is part of the Impact Justice Project, a regional initiative in the Caribbean funded by the Canadian Government. The objective is to equip these offices with essential skills and the expertise to successfully de-escalate conflicts within the community before it evolves into a more intense conflict.

 

Hilary Linton

Hilary Linton, Mediation Trainer, Riverdale Mediation 

“The officers are learning everything from active listening skills, communications skills, understanding what causes conflict to escalate, what are the things that make people respond to conflict the way they do and what are some of the skills that a mediator can bring to help bring down any escalation and any emotionality. Really, how to deal with people in a way that understands their conflicts and help them to find solutions to their own conflicts and their own problems.”

 

The training is also expected to train the officers on how to steer at-risk youths away from the gang life.

 

Paul Hines

Paul Hines, Mediation Trainer, Dispute Resolution Foundation

“The police officers with their own training and experiences I expect them to use these skills to help young members to move away from gangs. Help them to find other ways of resolving their dispute and conflicts other than relying on gangs. It is part of what the officers will be using to help them to treat with that situation.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“What would be the first approach for these officers that they must or should take if they want to successfully resolve any dispute?”

 

Paul Hines

“First thing is to apply the skills they learn from mediation in addition to their skills as police officers that would allow them to interdict and intervene but in a way that helps them to be far more effective to diffuse and de-escalate any situation that is requiring the attention of the police.”

 

This is the second training of its type that members of the Belize Police Department have participated in.

 

Bart Jones

Sr. Supt. Bart Jones, Legal Advisor, B.P.D. 

“There are a number of issues that police officers deal with every day. Most of the time the public would be a concern mainly with the murders, shootings but the everyday work of police officers is dealing with disputes. Sometimes there are landlord and tenant issues.  There are family issues that we are called upon to address that does not necessarily makes the news but sometimes what you get on the news in terms of the violence is what erupts after. The training is timely as we look to a more community-oriented kind of policing,”

 

Reporting for News, I am Hipolito Novelo.

 

The training ends on Friday.

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