The community of Beaulieu and the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) have joined forces in an attempt to prevent crime through a new initiative called Reverence Watch which was launched on Tuesday at Spice Basket.
Reverence Watch which is similar to Neighbourhood Watch is designed to bring the Police and the faith-based community together to engage in community intervention against crime through prayers and other forms of social intervention within their capacity.
This new initiative is aimed at addressing anti-social behaviour affecting churches and other places of worship during services, as well as to provide an organised base for collaborative activities targeting criminality and to promote a channel for information sharing.
Other objectives are to provide an avenue to address social issues in communities affected by crime and deviance; to afford uniformed visits by the police to participating member churches once per month; and hosting prayer walks in problem areas.
In delivering the opening remarks, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Franklyn Redhead, expressed concern with the level of crime and criminality taking place not only in Grenada but in neighbouring islands such as Trinidad and Tobago.
He said that while Grenada’s level of criminal activity is relatively low compared to other countries, there was a 10% increase in crime over the last 10 years and as such all members of society need to play their role to ensure that the crime rate remains low.
Redhead reminded those in attendance that the traditional means of solving crimes is important but community policing and building relations with the community is pivotal to prevent crimes.
He said Reverence Watch has its value and the potential to improve relationships and recognise how to reposition themselves as officers of the law to deal with issues confronting society.
Co-ordinator in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Religious Affairs, Kelvin Dottin in welcoming the initiative said the spiritual aspect of community development must never be underestimated.
He commended the Royal Grenada Police Force for its change in approach in dealing with societal issues and preventing crime.
Dottin said that programs such as Reverence Watch that is being implemented do not only benefit the communities but RGPF as it builds relationships with the people and the religious community – the church.
He encouraged religious leaders to leave the walls of their churches and to go out into the communities to meet the people.
Dottin disclosed that the ministry also plans to introduce Chaplains in the General Hospital and within the Police Force for those in need of spiritual guidance when the need arises.
A testimonial was delivered by Sister Theresa Jerome in which she encouraged Grenadians to take notice of the little things in life that matters and to extend a hand to those in need.
“Don’t go through life too fast, so that God will have to throw a stone at you to get your attention”, she told the small gathering, before commending the relationship between RGPF and the Church.
Sister Theresa sought to remind Grenadians that it takes every citizen to do something to keep the crime rate down.
Speaking on the relationship between Religion and the Law: The Social Impact, Dr Osbert James representing the Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG), quoting parts of the bible stressed that laws have always existed to deal with mankind.
He said that Church leaders need to get their members to understand that they are not Christians on one or two days a week, adding that too many “Christians” focus more on religion and the physical aspect of the church and little focus on spirituality.
He embraced the RGPF initiative and pointed out that for its success, the Church needs role models, churchgoers have to live out their faith and the police need to live by the laws they took an oath to protect and serve.
The launch of the Reverence Watch for St George North-east is the RGPF’s pilot project and other project are expected to be implemented in other communities particularly criminally-challenged areas throughout the country.