Members of the local constabulary have over the past two days been engaged in a two-day training workshop aimed at sharpening their communication Skills.
The workshop is the first in a series to be held by the Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and was held under the theme; new perspectives towards greater relations, reinforcing effective communication as a force for change, opened on Tuesday at the conference room of the Fisheries department
Head of the Public Relations and Complaints Department of the Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVP) Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Junior Simmons said the communication strategy of any organisation is critical to its success and forward thrust and the police force is no exception.
ASP Simmons told his colleagues that the training is organised with this and other things in mind. He said Police officers interact with members of the public, who are their main clients on a daily basis and in many different ways it is important that members seek to communicate the right message. “Because it is very easy for our message to be misconstrued,” he said.
He said the public could lose confidence and trust in the force just by a simple negative comment and it is important to get it right.
ASP Simmons said one of the goals of the Public Relations and Complaints office is to train and designate members of the organisation to be media ambassadors. “These officers will be tasked to interface with the media and to represent the organisation at different forums. They will also be called upon to host interactive programmes such as the popular police on the beat radio programme.
He announced that they have recruited a number of young and talented hosts for that programme and also that very soon there will be a new programme called protect and serve it will be broadcast live on facebook on Thursdays from 830 pm to 930 pm. “The creation of this programmes means that the police will be carving out its own niche on social media,” he said.
Commissioner of Police Collin John also noted that communication is a vital tool needed for the force as police officers can’t serve the public effectively without good communication skills.
Commissioner John said the lack of ability to listen, and to speak effectively, can result in misunderstanding. He further explained how communication plays an important role in the daily activities of the force.
The Commissioner said the workshop is very important and resulted from a discussion among heads. He said it was the creative idea of ASP Simmons whom he thanked for his suggestion. He noted that it is vital for officers to enhance their skill in communicating with members of the public.
Mr John urged the officers to grasp what is offered during the workshop.
During the two days officers will be trained in areas such as: community and customer relations /neighbourhood watch, relationship with the media (confidentiality and authorized disclosure); Prejudices and stereotypes in communications; the police image (off the job) and social media-Friend or Foe.
The training has been extended to officers from all levels of the force. It is jointly facilitated by Corletha Ollivierre and Inspector Hawkins Nanton.