The Police Department is hosting a one week Community Mediation Training for seventy police officers. Senior Superintendent of Police and legal advisor for the Department, Bart Jones says officers from the ranks of Inspectors to constables are taking the training.
Bart Jones: What they have done is that they have separated the supervisors in one room, they are being trained by Riverdale Foundation and then the constables are being trained by the Split Resolution Foundation of Jamaica and the importance of the training is that we realize that there are number of issues that police officers deal with every day. Most of the times the public will be concerned mainly with the murders, the shooting but the everyday work of a police officer is dealing with disputes, sometimes there are landlord and tenant issues, there are family issues that we are called upon to address that don’t necessarily meet the news but sometimes what you get on the news in terms of violence is what erupts after so the training is timely as we look to a more community oriented kind of policing.
Paul Hines of the Dispute Foundation in Jamaica and Hilary Linton, Principal of Riverdale Mediation from Toronto, Ontario Canada are two of the trainers.
Paul Hines: The training really is to equip officers with mediation skills, now mediation has been practiced in different parts of the Caribbean, in particular in Jamaica and in different territories. It’s also being practiced here in Belize, now it’s important for the police officers to have mediation skills as part of their tool kit because they are going to be interacting with the public in the different parts of the Belizean society, different communities and the aim is to have them use these skills to reduce crime, to reduce, deescalate situations in which there are conflicts that are requiring the attention of the police so the skills we give them, will enable them to intervene, help citizens, young persons, older persons, persons who are in the heat of the moment in an argument to deescalate with an intention to resolve so they are going to have these new skills, these additional skills in a sense to be added to what they are trained to do so it’s going to provide them with more skills and more opportunities to be more effective as Police officers.
The training is sponsored by the Impact Justice Project which is funded by the Canadian Government. A similar training was held in 2016 where 35 officers were trained by Impact Justice.