Commander of A Division (Georgetown, East Bank Demerara), Clifton Hicken, has lauded the strengthened relations between the Police Force and the public, noting that the benefit of this is seen in successful crime-fighting efforts.At the annual A Division Career Fair held on Saturday, Commander Hicken pointed out to reporters that his Division now has some 18 youth groups under the Social Crime Prevention Programme and in those communities there has been a reduction in crime.Another pattern that the Commander said is evident is the passage of intelligence from the public to the Police, which he noted is critical to solving crimes.Other than the youth initiatives, Hicken added that a new policing phenomenon has been realised, namely ‘team policing’. This concept, he said, seeks to identify vulnerable areas within the community such as lack of illumination where there is large vegetation; abandoned houses; elders living alone; and mentally ill persons on the road who pose threats, following which preventative actions can be taken.“Coming out of the review from the team policing, intel-led policing would be realised so we know exactly where we are going to execute search warrants as against inconveniencing the masses. So it’s a collecting of new initiatives into a structure way and I think that is developing for us,” the Commander noted.‘A’ Division Commander Clifton HickenIn fact, he disclosed that based on information received through the strengthened relations, an exercise was recent conducted at the Golden Grove, EBD, sea dam area during which four suspects were arrested.“We broke that ring and we now have four persons in custody, and they will have four to five charges of break and enter and larceny. Similar exercises were done in Georgetown in the Tiger Bay area, where we recovered a set of stolen articles and so they too will be placed before the courts. We’ve also partnered with Leopold Street and Central Georgetown and again manage to make some arrests; in fact, one of the persons that were arrested was identified as a suspect in three robberies,” Hicken noted.This type of community involvement, the Commander added, could only develop trust. He further pointed out that the Force is also look at balancing its prevention and detection capacity.Hicken went on to outline that last year’s 19.2 per cent reduction in serious crime in A Division was as a result of strengthened relations with communities, stemming from the youth development initiatives.“Parents are now more receptive. I think they’re seeing what we’re doing as a good [thing] and there are now coming on board with us, which is overwhelmingly good for us,” he posited.The Divisional Commander further stated that with last year’s crime reduction being high, with continued collaborations with the communities A Division is projected to record yet another significant decrease in criminal activities.Over the past three years, the Guyana Police Force has embarked on a Social Crime Prevent Programme, the brain-child of Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud. The highly successful initiative aims at regaining public trust by engaging persons in skills training, sports and cultural activities.