There is an urgent need for communities to rebuild the social bonds necessary to overcome the social problems associated with young people.

In fact, Acting Attorney General, Michael Lashley, said it would assist members of the Royal Barbados Police Force in addressing complex issues, such as the emergence of the ???boys on the block??? phenomenon.

He made these comments as he addressed the opening ceremony of the Force???s annual conference at Solidarity House this morning under the theme: Collaboration, Communication and Partnership Building: Imperatives for Community Regeneration.

???These young persons are beginning to regard themselves as separate from mainstream society and often display low self-esteem on one hand, and aggressive behaviour on the other.

“Some of the behaviours displayed are closely related to a lack of respect for the property of other people and for authority. This group has voiced a sense of alienation which provides an ideal climate for negative peer pressure,??? he explained.

What is needed, Mr. Lashley said, was a regeneration of communities. ???In this respect, the community regeneration would include the clergy, community leaders and other influential personalities, non-governmental organisations and corporate entities,??? he stated.

In addition, he noted that police officers should be seen as community builders in helping to create a sense of trust, belonging, well-being and security in neighbourhoods.

???The Police Force must seek to build a mutually-beneficial and well-defined relationship with the community to achieve the common goal of the enhancement of long-term social, economic and environmental conditions of the community,??? he asserted.

The Acting Attorney General noted that Community Policing emphasised the establishment of police – community partnerships, while also seeking to resolve problems.

He publicly commended the Force for its Community Policing efforts, particularly through initiatives such as the Neighbourhood Watch, Crime Prevention, the Juvenile Liaison Scheme and the DARE programmes.

???[These] are community interventions which serve to educate participants and assist them in moving away from negative attitudes and seeking to develop positive and developmental habits,??? Mr. Lashley said, while encouraging officers to continue using softer strategies to assist young people in changing their behaviour.

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