Israeli training in community policing Print E-mail
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Friday, 06 July 2018 00:00

Fifteen Police Officers and other civilian members have completed a one week course on Community Policing at the National Police Training Academy in Belmopan, under the tutelage of World class trainers in the subject. Participants of the course received their certificates and other recognition in a brief ceremony at the Academy on Tuesday morning.

The course was conducted by Dr. Eran Israel, who initiated the community approach to policing in Israel 35 years ago. Joining him was Mr. Horacio Kurland, another Israeli, with expertise in the management of communications and community development.

During the one week course, participants were taught the theories surrounding community policing, strategic planning and about analyzing current situations. Trainees were also practically involved, separating into six teams and fanning out in Belmopan to get direct feedback from principals of schools, pastors, municipality representatives and others.

“The best practice of policing is community policing, the most efficient one, the cheapest one, you don’t need technology and helicopters and trucks, you only need one clever policeman, who is suitable for his community, he has to know the language, the tradition, should know how to speak with the people of that community and most important they respect each other which means he is the one to make the contacts,” explains Dr. Eran Israel.

“You don’t need guns, it doesn’t need violence, it doesn’t mean that because community policing is a soft policing it can fight crime,” he also said.

Present at the graduation ceremony was Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, who spoke on behalf of the Government of Belize and the Commissioner of Police,  Alen Whylie. He firstly expressed gratitude to the facilitators and the Israeli Government for taking the time to impart valuable knowledge in Belize.

As a Commander of Operations, whose portfolio is also Community Policing Williams also said that the Police Department welcomes such training.

“The Belize Police Department will always welcome training that will enhance the capacity of our officers. We are a progressive Department. We are a growing Department and as such we cannot remain ignorant to the expertise of others around us near and far whenever opportunity present itself, where we can reach out to any organization or any country or government, who believe that they can assist us in achieving our daily operational objectives. It is our duty to reach out and get these assistance that we need.”

Williams was also frank about the realities.

“We have seen over and over again, on a daily basis, that one of our greatest weaknesses, which can be our greatest strength is community policing, it is our weakness, because we tend not to use it, in the way we should, and it can be our greatest strength, because if we apply community policing the way we should we will make great inroads in the fight against criminality right across this country.”

These newly trained police officers are being encouraged by the Police Department to now share their newly found knowledge on Community Policing with others. Civilian members from the Voluntary Special Constables, Citizens on Patrol, Department of Youth Services and Community Rehabilitation, who also participated in the intensive course are also being encouraged to multiply their experiences.

As the phenomenon of Community Policing blows across the Globe, there are new signs of fundamental changes on the Belizean horizon. There will be a neighborhood watch meeting at 7:00 p.m on July the 5th at the Rotary Park on the La Loma Luz Boulevard in Santa Elena, where the new Regional Commander for Community Policing will be present.