50 Join Police Youth Club @ CSJP's PeaceMobile
When the Citizen Security and Justice Programme’s PeaceMobile rode into Steer Town, St Ann to introduce the CSJP’s social intervention services on June 25, among the youth clubs hoping for interest from attendees was the Steer Town Police Youth Club, which seeks to build relationships between youth and the police to prevent crime.
Steer Town has faced problems typical of many communities in Jamaica over the years – drugs, violence and crime, poor police/community relations and problems with youth involvement in crime.
But when the PeaceMobile came with the message for the residents that peace will be sustained through them working together for community good, some 50 persons signed their names indicating interest in the police youth club, said Corporal Neil Brown, leader for the Steer Town club and officer at the St Ann’s Bay Police Station.
He said that although only just about 20 actually followed up for the mandatory three consecutive weeks of meetings necessary before they can join the club, the response was encouraging.
Getting the youth to engage in activities is important in helping them move away from crime, and this is what the club, one of many police youth clubs in the island does.
The clubs are part of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Police Community Relations programme, and help the youth – seven to 30 – to develop, among other things, self confidence and important life skills.
Through the clubs the police and other resource persons speak to the youth about their health, career choices, life choices and expose them to further training, all geared at creating model citizens.
Corporal Brown said the club has been very active this summer, with a programme involving some 85 youth aged 4-18. On July 28 he and a group of children were at the Kool Runnings water park in Negril cooling down as part of the summer programme. Other programmes included bonfires, movie nights and sports.
The importance of engaging the youth is based on police reports which show that in the communities with active police youth clubs, crime and violence trends down.