Wednesday, 06 October 2021 18:45

Community Policing and Peace Building

NPC’s Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF) project conducted three webinars to increase awareness of the Community Policing Service to strengthen the civil society and police collaboration to resolve local issues. One webinar was conducted for 115 Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) members in Trincomalee, Kuliyapitiya, Paduwasnuwara and Rakwana and two other webinars were conducted for 170 Community Police officers in Trincomalee and Batticaloa, facilitated by SSP Priyankara De Silva, former Director of Community Police Service.

The sessions discussed the concept of community policing, its objectives, benefits and challenges as well as the role of community policing in conflict transformation, mitigation, mediation and crime prevention. The facilitator explained how the Community Policing Service improved relations between the community and police and ensured greater police responsiveness to security issues.

A Grama Niladhari Officer from Trincomalee said, & Community Policing Units should be more empowered; these units can be more active.'' The facilitator explained that police officers had many commitments, especially during the pandemic, when they were occupied with Covid prevention work.

Since the situation was normalising, Community Police could start their usual work, he said. To celebrate International Day of Peace, CERF conducted advocacy campaigns to raise awareness on religious coexistence. Members of Batticaloa, Negombo, Weligama and Trincomalee LIRCs spoke about religious coexistence and pluralism on radio and TV interview programmes. Religious leaders, government officials and LIRC members as well as NPC’s Executive Director Dr. Jehan Perera participated as panellists.

Among the topics discussed were how to build religious coexistence, how to prevent religious extremism and what obstructs strengthening religious coexistence. Panellists pointed out that there was fear, suspicion, hatred and divisions among different religions. Religious coexistence can be strengthened through cooperation among religious leaders, who have a responsibility to raise their voices against misconceptions and hatred towards other religious beliefs,'' said Moulavi Naizar.