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Feb 22, 2005

Community police officers improve skills

Story PictureIt’s a well established programme that has been around for some time, an honest attempt to implement the popular notion of community policing. But relations between the police and many Belize City neighbourhoods are not what they should be. Today Jacqueline Woods sat in on a training session that seeks to make one group of officers more effective.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
These twenty-one police officers are at the forefront of promoting good relationships within the communities, in which they work. The men and women are known as the Belize District Zone Beat Liaison Officers. Their mission: to resolve whatever problems or conflicts that arise in the respective areas they serve.

P.C. Abdulmajeed Nunez, ZBLO, Zone 4
?The whole Zone Beat Liaison programme is all about to mediate between parties and help them to resolve their conflicts.?

The issues vary and generally the problems are settled…but on some occasions these officers are not well received, especially when children are involved and parents are not comfortable with an outside authority participating in the peace making process.

W.P.C. Sherla Cocom, ZBLO, Zone 2
?The majority of parents don?t know what is the role of a ZBLO officer as a police officer in the schools.?

P.C. Adulmajeed Nunez
?We have to go to the schools on a regular basis to try and help the teachers, students and parents to try and resolve conflicts among themselves. While a lot of the parents are not aware because every time they see the police they tend to get scared and feel like we are there to arrest and formally charged. We are there most of the time to try and resolve the conflict especially where students are concerned so that they don?t get involved in the criminal system per say.?

?We try to find alternative punishments for them and get the parents, the teachers, students and the principals together and they have the punishment set at school.?

Today, P.C. Abdulmajeed Nunez and WPC Sherla Cocom both Zone Beat Liaisons Officers who work respectively on the south and north sides of the city, joined their fellow colleagues to improve their skills in a working environment that often leaves them frustrated and stressed.

Supt. Yolanda Murray, Commander, Community Policing
?I chose the topic for this training today: Conflict Resolution as today we have a lot of troubled youths within our society and the Zone Beat Liaisons programme allows the officers to work closely with students especially and other youths out on the streets. There are a lot of times they have to deal with conflicts between various youths and this training will help them a far way in getting them to be better able to cope and deal with these situations.?

The Officers reviewed how to identify conflicts and how to resolve problems.

Supt. Yolanda Murray
?What we expect is that they will be better able to cope with whatever problems they come across with in regards to youths or anybody at all because it is not only the youths that they work with, they also visit homes and they go into homes where you can hear about various problems and they are better able to help in that area.?

Both Nunez and Cocom say they enjoy the work they do and want the public to understand their programme works for the good of the community they live. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

The one-day workshop was facilitated by Karen Bodden of the National Drug Abuse Control Council.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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