Professor Elizabeth Ward, chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), is urging the police to use accessible technology to improve their response time to crime.
The VPA chair made the recommendation while addressing the St Andrew North Division’s Conference and Awards Ceremony at the Constant Spring Golf Club, where she was the guest speaker recently.
“You have to utilise the information that you have to aid with the response time. If you want people to give you the information, you’ll have to be able to respond in a timely manner and use the technology, such as global positioning systems (GPS), to assist you with the direction and how to get there in the shortest time,” she said.
Professor Ward highlighted that response time is critical in policing. She said the VPA, through the Kingston Violence Prevention Board, has been doing its part to accumulate data to assist the police.
“We observed that hospital guidance and law informant maps are important for planning. You can pinpoint areas for violence-prevention activities and you can look at the types of violence that keep occurring in certain areas, and then you can make a decision to have targeted interventions and see, over time, if it works or if you need another intervention or experts to help,” she stated.
Professor Ward said that this approach saves money as it is targeted investment and coordination. In addition, she also said earlier and more frequent police interventions reduce crime; assist with identifying the type of weapons used to commit a crime; pinpoint walkways; and identify school violence locations.
The Kingston Violence Prevention Board was established by the VPA with key stakeholders such as personnel from the security forces and hospitals. The board has been using the Cardiff Violence Prevention Model created by Dr Johnathan Shepherd, a surgeon and professor at Cardiff University in Wales in the United Kingdom.
The Cardiff Model utilises a multi-agency approach to violence prevention that involves all the stakeholder that depend on pertinent incidents of violence information such as location, date, time and description of injuries from health and law enforcement to improve policing and implement violence prevention programmes.
The Kingston Violence Prevention Board has been able to map violent injuries from the surveillance system at the Kingston Public Hospital and identified gaps in the existing surveillance system – ranging from technological to process deficiencies that are targeted for improvement. The data is routinely cross-referenced against police major crimes and combined to create hotspot models for each review period.