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Sep 27, 2007

Police once again try to talk peace to gangs …

Story PictureIt’s not the first time police have tried to talk peace to Belize City’s hard core rival gangs and it surely won’t be the last. The latest attempt to substitute communication for brute force took place this afternoon at the Queen Street station. Commander of Operations, Assistant Commissioner Crispin Jeffries, says solutions will not come easily.

A.C.P. Crispin Jerreries, Assistant Commissioner of Police
“We have had a number of incidents that have occurred over the last thirty days of which yesterday’s incident of shootings clearly indicate that we may have some rivalry and some retaliation happening and we believe that to try and arrest the situation we believe that we can talk to some of the major players. We’ve been analyzing the problems in the streets of Belize City and we clearly recognize that there are many layers within the community that are a part of the problem and we’re trying to focus on those.”

Marion Ali
“A lot of the young men inside are upset about what they terms as police treatment. Do you think that this will reach anywhere? Will anything positive come out of it?”

Crispin Jeffries
“If you were allowed to attend some of the previous sessions, the selfish attitude of the young persons in there who seems to complain that they are being abused are some of the major players in the streets. They know us, we deal with them every time and they know this is a point that they will always be heard to be saying that the police is chancing them and that is what people prey on, the police chancy.”

Marion Ali
“Over recent times we’ve heard some people cry police brutality, the last I think being Mr. Timmy Stamp. Are you ruling out that police do abuse their authority?”

Crispin Jeffries
“Belize has something that I always say to people, ‘a society begets the type of policeman it deserves’. And we are not saying that our officers all out there are perfect. We know that there are times when the law provides for and there are times when physical and emotional stress and other attitudes take over and they do wrong things. We are aware of it.”

Marion Ali
“What actions will you follow up with now. You’re having a casual meeting with these young men. What will follow after this?”

Crispin Jeffries
“This is as much as we can do at this time. We have intensified our patrols. We have successfully kept the areas vigilant, but no matter what we do there is always a crack in the woodworks that things slip through and we are standing here now. Who knows that by the time you step through the gate there might be another incident happening out there. It is not that patrols aren’t out there; It is not that our effort is not being focused on reducing or arresting the situation but it’s challenging.”

Marion Ali
“What kinda support are you getting from the powers that be, the Minister, the government?”

Crispin Jeffries
“There is a lot of recommendations that have been made and there is approval that has been given but time will have to elapse before certain things become a reality. We are looking for increased police numbers. We are looking for funding for a couple more programmes in the Yabra area, a repetition of that programme in other areas. But the problem is far greater than it appears to be and it is a long term problem that needs a long term solution. I can assure you that there is a lot of things happening, a lot of programmes that are being implemented by government but some programmes will take the time before they mature.”

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