Saturday 20 April, 2019

Policewomen practising proactive policing in 'hot spots'

Policewomen in Melrose, St. Thomas.

Policewomen in Melrose, St. Thomas.

Members of the Royal Barbados Police Force who are mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters were out in the communities recently struck by violence to reassure residents they are there to serve and protect too.

Part of the Barbadian society, Inspector Janice Ifill and her team of a dozen policewomen rolled out Operation ‘Soft Touch’ yesterday, Friday, February 8, 2019.

They touched Haynesville, St. James; Melrose, St. Thomas; and Crab Hill, St. Lucy.

Ifill told Loop News:

“There are only women here, about 12 of us, all from the Northern Division so we include areas Holetown, District ‘D’, District ‘E’, Crab Hill and District ‘F’ – Belleplaine.

"So this is just another initiative from the Force to let the public know that we are out here and that the country remains safe, and the women are on the ground from the North talking to all the residents: the shopkeepers, the boys on the block, the women, the shut-ins, to let them know we’re here and we’re here to stay.”

Photo caption: Female officer speaking with a resident of Melrose, St. Thomas.

Ifill said that she believes that the majority of the public in Barbados “already know they can speak with us on one,” but she reminded others that the members of the force are approachable.

“We have not dropped from the sky. We are part of the community and as such we are in touch and in tune with them.” Furthermore, she urged that the effort is not a one-day one-off exercise, “it’s is not only today [Friday], it is almost every day that we interact positively with persons from the community. So this is just a new look today.

“You’re seeing the skirts on the ground in full force.”

Photo caption: Inspector Janice Ifill (right) chatting with some of the 'Soft Touch' Operation team in Melrose.

Asked how she feels when she sees a neighbour or a known young person going before the magistrate on criminal charges, she said, “Just like any other ordinary Barbadian, it is not a good feeling.” Also recognising the fear that is being displayed by some residents in the ‘hot spots’, she added, “it is not a feeling that we want to take over the country so we try to remedy it and we also try to do proactive policing. This is part of that, where we come out and want you [members of the public]  to come and talk to us, even share a joke and that is quite okay too.”

With about eight to 10 per cent of the Force being female currently, she added that the 'Soft Touch' Unit hopes persons would welcome them in their communities.  

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