What you need to know about the NCPP
RATIONALE FOR NCPP
NCPP is designed to encourage and facilitate the engagement of all citizens to contribute to the safety, security and well-being of all communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
The NCPP initiative is also consistent with Goal 5 of the Government’s 2030 Objective as outlined in the Draft National Development Strategy 2016-2030; which is intended to “create an integrated national security infrastructure which ensure(s) that the issues of crime, public safety and national security are addressed on a holistic and sustained basis.”
Furthermore, the National Development Strategy “also recognises that collaboration among various actors and an integrated approach among many sectors to address cross-cutting issues such as gender, the environment and human security are necessary if we are to succeed in achieving the Vision 2030.”
All Government ministries and agencies will share responsibility and be accountable for the security and safety of the State.
CRIME IS EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS
It is without doubt, that crime and violence are among the most significant of these challenges as it affects each and every one of us irrespective of age, gender, race, class, religion, ethnicity or political affiliation.
An analysis of the various anti-crime measures implemented by other countries in the international community was conducted, and the results have shown that they have yielded positive results. In June 1996, for example, the Government of Sweden presented a national crime prevention programme entitled ‘Our Collective Responsibility’. The programme sought to pave the way for long term, lasting crime prevention work in every sector of society and proved to be very significant in improving crime prevention efforts, especially at the local community level. In 2015, the Swedish Government introduced the programme that brought together Government, municipalities, businesses and other elements of Swedish society.
Similarly, in the United States of America, a National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has operated successfully for over forty-eight (48) years. They managed to change the way Americans look at crime and crime prevention. They have pointed to national surveys that indicate that more than seventy-five percent (75%) of adults now recognise that they have a role in ensuring safer communities. We have to strive for even better statistics in Trinidad and Tobago through our efforts.
TACKLING CRIME BEFORE IT HAPPENS
The NCPC introduced the concept of the Circle of Respect which is a basic principle of criminal justice that for a crime to occur, three elements must be present, namely; desire, ability and opportunity. A basic principle of crime prevention in their view, is that if you remove just one element, the crime is not likely to occur. The Government certainly shares this view.
We too must reduce the desire to commit crime through appropriate legislation that buttresses the work of the security agencies and provide for effective interdiction where dissuasion fails and, we must remove the ability through the support of proactive community-building that discourages crime and criminal behaviour. The communities working in tandem internally and with each other will certainly reduce the opportunity to commit crime or be involved in various elements of criminality.
HOW WILL THE NCPP WORK?
The National Crime Prevention Programme will be implemented in fourteen (14) Municipalities in Trinidad and in Tobago through the Tobago House of Assembly. This initiative is established to engage, educate and empower communities to help prevent crime. In the first instance, the NCPP will be rolled out in Diego Martin and Chaguanas.
The Vision 2030 National Development Strategy 2016-2030 also speaks about delivering good Governance and Service Excellence as well as the sustainable developmental goals for this country. Three of those goals which will be further activated by the NCPP in the short, medium and long term are:
i. Short term – “our governance approach will be based on principles of participation and inclusion”
ii. Medium term – “an efficient and effective law enforcement system”
iii. Long term – A safe and secure place to live, visit and do business
The actions that are to commence as a result of the launch of the NCPP must be seen in the context of our two-pronged approach the fighting crime in which I as the Minister of National Security will lead the operational efforts and the Attorney General will push our legislative agenda. Indeed the Attorney General has been working assiduously to provide the enabling environment that allows many of our initiatives to bear fruit. A few examples of our achievements in this regard include:
1. The Strategic Services Agency (Amendment) Act, 2016;
2. The Cybercrime Bill, 2017;
3. The Interception of Communication Regulations, 2017;
4. The Freedom of Information (Exemption) Order, 2017;
5. The Administration of Justice (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Regulations, 2018;
6. Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2018; and
7. The Miscellaneous Provisions (Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Proceeds of Crime, Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago, Customs and Exchange Control) Bill, 2017
NCPP IS ABOUT EMPOWERMENT, COLLABORATION AND ACTION
It is evident that if we have to effectively address crime in this country, a mechanism incorporating the efforts of the entire society is critical in the fight against crime. Consequently, Cabinet in August 2016 agreed to the establishment of a National Crime Prevention Programme under the auspices of the Ministry of National Security, and noted that “the implementation of the NCPP would institutionalize a model of collaboration and corporation in identifying and responding to issues pertinent to the safety, security and welfare of communities throughout the country.”
The philosophy of the NCPP is that the people of this country need to join together to create a crime prevention culture. We need to be proactive in addressing the root causes of crime, rather than being reactive. The vision of this Government and its mission is to use crime prevention as the vehicle to change our service delivery mechanisms through effective collaboration, community empowerment and dedicated action.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
This is a time for rebuilding our nation, now and for future generations.
Despite many bold and ambitious efforts over the years involving both social and law enforcement approaches in an attempt to reduce crime and violence, these issues remain a significant challenge.
We must therefore understand the importance of Public, Private Partnership as we embark on a new path to effect the change that is desired. We understand that we CANNOT do it alone. The NCPP is not intended to be an immediate fix but it will provide a new hope and promise for a brighter future through the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders – Government Agencies, NGO’s, Community Based Organisation, the Business Community, Faith Based Organisations and most important the co-operation and support of citizens in their communities.
All of society has an essential role to play, if we are to truly save our sons, our daughters, other family members, from being victims of crime or becoming perpetrators of crime. Communities must be a part of solution to prevent crime.
Let us join together and stand strong for a safer Trinidad and Tobago. The community is the greatest asset for crime prevention to be effective. You are our greatest assets for the sustainable development, crime prevention and the improvement of the quality of life in communities.
To borrow from the ten (10) action principles of the American NCPC which are:
- Preventing crime is everyone’s business;
- Preventing crime is more than security;
- Preventing crime is a responsibility of all levels and agencies of government;
- Preventing crime is linked with solving social problems;
- Preventing crime is cost effective;
- Preventing crime requires a central role in law enforcement;
- Preventing crime requires co-operation and collaboration by all elements of society;
- Preventing crime requires education;
- Preventing crime requires tailoring to local needs and conditions; and
- Preventing crime requires continual evaluation and improvement
Therefore, there is more need than ever before for the support of every Government agency, the Opposition, every business, NGOs, FBOs, and every citizen, to share in the responsibility to create and sustain safer communities. We must all come together to wrest our country from the clutches of the criminal elements who are bent on disrupting the stability of this country and impairing the quality of life of citizens.
It is not by chance that we have reached to this point as far as this initiative is concerned. In the PNM’s manifesto, which was adopted subsequently as the country’s development policy, the Government saw the need to tackle (among others) head-on issues such as youth criminality through the implementation of preventative actions that take into account the broad range of underlying contributory issues to crime. These include low educational attainment, problematic behaviour such as bullying, parenting difficulties, mental health issues, domestic violence and other factors such as socioeconomic stress and poor neighbourhood conditions.
Now that the NCPP has been launched, various Public Outreaches will continue in Trinidad and Tobago to engage citizens at all levels by means of generating a pool of ideas needed to advance this nation to approximate the status of a “crime free” nation. The society’s, knowledge, expertise and experiences are critical at these sessions and I urge you to participate fully – Let your voices be heard and your issues be noted for appropriate action.
For more information: Please visit the Ministry of National Security’s Website and Social media pages or call us at 623-2441-5 extensions 13122/13128.