The National Task Force on Crime Prevention (NTFCP), through the Office of the Attorney General, will be conducting a Citizens??? Satisfaction Survey on the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) from this month.

This six-week survey, expected to start from Monday, February 10, forms part of the accreditation process through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies for the RBPF.

Senior Research Officer with the NTFCP, Kim Ramsay, explained the survey was designed to examine perceptions of the police???s respect for the public, their helpfulness, trustworthiness, job performance, knowledge of the job, professional appearance, demeanor and general attitude.

In addition, persons will be asked to give their suggestions on how lawmen may improve their profession and be more effective and efficient in their duties.

Approximately 1, 800 people will be targetted for the survey. Twelve interviewers, with identification badges stating they are from the Office of the Attorney General, will conduct the field exercise. Interviewers will identify who they are, and the purpose of the study.

Ms. Ramsay explained that the island would be divided into four strata ??? St. Michael by itself due to its size; Christ Church and St. Philip; St. George, St. James and St. Thomas; St. Andrew, St. John, St. Lucy, St. Joseph and St. Peter.

She added enumeration districts in each strata would be selected, and then 40 households within each enumeration would be targetted for the survey. ???It is a multi-stage approach. When we choose the households then we would select persons from each household to conduct the survey; adults only,??? she said, noting youth on the block would also be targetted through focus groups.

The surveys will be conducted primarily on evenings and weekends when people are most likely to be at home, however, some will also take place during the day.

Ms. Ramsay explained that the accreditation process for the Force was done triennially through a voluntary programme. ???The Royal Barbados Police Force does not have to be accredited, but they have chosen to be which is good for the Force,??? she noted.

She added the international Commission inspected the particular law enforcement agency and looked at issues of efficiency in its practices and rated them in relation to international standards.

The Senior Research Officer stated that the survey was important as it not only assisted the Force with its international accreditation, but also examined areas in its delivery of service which may need strengthening; looked at its weaknesses and strengths; assisted with developing policy, and examined its customer service.

???In addition, the public will be able to understand more of the work of the police force, and the police would be able to build a much needed relationship with the public,??? Ms. Ramsay said.

She added that being accredited also meant that the RBPF would be internationally recognised as a police force that upheld its standards, and maintained its mission, and that there was transparency. ???It is essential that the police [force] is aligned with some international agency to show that it is operating above board,??? she stressed.

However, she noted that the Government also needed feedback from the survey because it was important that it reviews the relationship between the citizens and the police force and to determine how they could become more efficient, effective and customer friendly.

The 40-minute questionnaire will also ask questions ranging from if the interviewee had any contact with members of the RBPF; what was their experience in this contact; if they were victims of any crime; if they were satisfied with the way the matter was dealt with; their fear of crime and if they felt the police were doing a good job to protect citizens from crime; and about various aspects of policing such as their visibility, performance on the job, police complaints and other areas.

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