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RSVGPF holds communication training workshop

RSVGPF holds communication training workshop
Left to Right: Corletha Ollivierre, journalist, Inspector Hawkins Nanton & ASP Junior Simmons

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For two days this week, over 70 members of the local police force were engaged in sessions to sharpen their communication skills.

The workshop, the first in a series, was held on Tuesday and Wednesday and was facilitated by veteran journalist Corletha Ollivierre and Inspector Hawkins Nanton.

“As police officers, we interact with the public who are our main clients, on a daily basis in many ways. It is therefore vitally important that we always seek to communicate the right message because it is very easy for our messaging to be misconstrued,” said ASP Junior Simmons, the head of the Public Relations and Complaints Department.

In brief remarks, Simmons said that it takes one negative incident to erode the confidence and trust that the public has in police.

And he said the workshop was a step in the right direction in an effort for police to “get it right”.

Commissioner of Police Colin John said that communication is a vital tool in society because police officers cannot serve the public effectively without having good communication skills.

“Communication plays a very important role in the lives, jobs of police officers. How does that play an important role? The management of evidence by interviewing witnesses and suspects. That’s one way in which it helps to bridge that gap. It also helps to gather vital information. It also helps to make quick and informed decisions and help you to communicate better with the public,” he said.

John stressed that enhancing communication skills of officers was important and said that the topics covered at the workshop were extremely relevant.

Topics covered included community and public relations/neighbourhood watch, prejudice and stereotypes, police relations with the media and social media.

“The media can make you or break you. That’s not a cliché. That is a reality. When interacting with the media, we have to know what to say, when to say what we say, how to say what we say and how much to say. We have to balance the two issues of national security and the issue of giving the public certain information,” the Commissioner said.

He added that “giving too much information in an untimely manner can lead to destruction of evidence, it can lead to giving undue alarm to the public. So while we interact with the media, we have to know as I said before, when to say what we say.”

The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force recently announced their presence on several social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And John said that social media can be a vital tool but its usefulness is dependent on how it is utilised. He also said the officers should make sure that social media is used at all times in ways that make it “a friend to the police, not a foe”.

Officers trained at the workshop included members of the Police High Command and Officer Corps as well as ranking officers in the force.

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