Law enforcement activities have been intensified in the communities of Jacmel and Dennery following gun violence two weekends ago which resulted in the loss of four young lives.
Deputy Police Commissioner Wayne Charlery, in an exclusive with this newspaper, said police concentration on the two communities “is with a view at limiting the opportunities available and ability of violent criminal perpetrators to operate.”
He said that major strides have been made in restoring safer environments to these communities.
“Notwithstanding these law enforcement interventions, we are exploring the utility of the Psychosocial, Mental Health Support Systems Approach to assist us in managing crime in these at-risk communities,” Charlery said.
According to him the new approach in managing crime in at-risk communities elicits support and assistance from professionals within various communities on the island who are expertly trained in delivering that kind of therapy.
This kind of approach, he noted, is also to engage persons, affected by violent crime, be it victims, survivors or observers, including the criminally suspected and criminally inclined, with a view at dissolving intentions at revenge and redirecting the criminal inspirations and motivations to constructive, fun-filled life skills building actions and endeavours.
“As a start, members of the Community Relations Branch of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, on May 27th and 28th, respectively, along with Police officers from the Dennery and Anse La Raye Police stations visited the affected families and relatives of the homicide victims in Dennery and Jacmel, offering counseling and comfort,” Charlery said.
“They engaged members of the community sharing advice and guidance on them, taking personal responsibility for their safety and security through cooperation and collaborations with the police, not only with regards to violent crime but with the coronavirus as well. Masks were distributed to them and they were sensitized on the availability and usefulness of the RSLPF Crime Hotline – 452-7463 (452-CRIME),” Charlery added.
In Jacmel police officers partnered with a psychiatric nurse and a community health aid worker in making the psychosocial, mental health therapy available to the affected families and community members.
“We are hoping that the social transformation officer and psychiatric nurse assigned to the Dennery region can accompany our officers on the return visits,” Charlery said, noting that the response from the affected families and members from the two communities of Dennery and Jacmel, to the psychosocial, mental health support systems intervention was tremendously encouraging, promising opportunities for success in the future.
“We intend to extend and, expand the Psychosocial, Mental Health Support Systems Approach to crime control to other at-risk communities throughout St. Lucia,” the Deputy Police Commissioner said.
The Psychosocial, Mental Health Support Systems Approach relies fundamentally on the premise that any criminal action is governed by the presence of three elements; Opportunity, Ability/Capacity and Intent/Motivation. The absence of any one of these elements means that no crime can be committed.
Law enforcement, Charlery stated, has always attempted to deny criminals the opportunities to commit criminal acts and curtail their ability, through core law enforcement tactics of patrols, search and stops, etc. with mixed results, no lasting success.
“The Psychosocial, Mental Health Support Systems Approach on the other hand endeavours to eliminate the criminal intent/motivation from at-risk community members (offenders and potential offenders), delving into their psyche, through various activities, projects and programs, in an attempt at re-socializing and re-conditioning their mental and psychosocial outlook on life and their worldview,” Charlery said.