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Youth at risk, says top cop

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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Being young and male puts you at risk of being involved in crime, says Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin. Dottin was addressing a meeting of the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA) at The St Michael School on the topic Why People Obey The Law, on Wednesday night.In an expansive and in-depth presentation, the top cop indicated that with agencies of socialisation such as schools, churches and communities no longer operating at their maximum, the aggressive, vulgar behaviour in public and the lack of respect continued to erode the values of Barbados and its youth, particularly the males.Dottin said the fear of being caught and the resulting punishment, as well as the disapproval of peers, family and social groups, played a role in preventing crime.  However, the police chief pointed out that “in a society of cultural pluralism, the threat of punishment was not enough. Personal morality is critical to the avoidance of crime”.Pointing to the Broken Window Theory, which holds that if a factory window is broken and no one fixes it, people would pass and break other windows, Dottin stated that the best way to fix crime was to fight the preceding disorders.. “There is not a complete breakdown of law and order in Barbados, but there are worrying signs where the social fabric of the country is under severe stress,” Dottin added.However, the commissioner told the audience that the tolerance of crime in some communities created a complex interplay between the law and personal morality.Quoting from the National Report On Law And Order In Barbados, Dottin said that post-Independence Barbados saw a number of key figures in communities achieving great prosperity and unfortunately moving away from the districts where they might have had great moral influence on the youth.When questioned over his failure to deal with the ZR culture, which he had set up as a key project on his installation as commissioner, Dottin acknowledged that the private sector played a key role in public transport in Barbados, but the drivers’ unbridled disregard for traffic laws proved to be a great source of lawlessness.According to Dottin, 13 743 traffic cases were brought against private sector vehicles in 2004. In 2005 the figure was 12 354, in 2006, 8 657 and in 2007, 8 407. Those cases caused severe congestion in the courts. “If a crime is not punished speedily, then the effect of the charge is diminished,” Dottin said.The commissioner told the audience that a total overhaul of the regulatory system, with the implementation of the demerit and ticketing system, as well as the suspension of licences and the revoking of the owners’ permits, were needed since moral suasion had not worked. (KB)