Participants of the second and third batches of COPSQUAD2000 on Saturday expressed how useful they have found the training and shared with subject minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud some of the things that they especially appreciated learning.
One comment that was repeated by several graduates was that the training brought out how Gender Based Violence (GBV) is not just subjected to women, but affects children and men too.
Furthermore, multiple participants appreciated learning how to interview a survivor of GBV and how to deal with persons coming to make a report.
The graduation ceremony took place as usual at the Police Officers’ Training Center in Kingston in the presence of Dr. Persaud, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn and Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie.
So far, 75 policemen and women have received their certificates and badges identifying them as COPSQUAD officers. A brainchild of Dr. Persaud, the intention is to have at least one officer trained to handle matters of domestic violence at each police station across the country.
Dr. Persaud is at the moment targeting half of the Force to be trained by the end of this year and plans on ensuring that the other half is trained next year.
With the ‘train the trainers’ programme functioning effectively, the pace of COPSQUAD can now be accelerated so that simultaneous training can take place in multiple regions.
“It was fun through learning. I took away that there are many options available to a survivor of GBV. I have learnt a new way to interview a survivor and I will continue to move in a swift manner to ensure that justice is served,” expressed one participant.
“I’ve learnt how to guide and counsel perpetrators and how to communicate with persons who went through such trauma. I’m looking forward for more training in the advanced level of this programme,” another graduate offered.
A third graduate shared that even though he came to the programme with a negative attitude, he couldn’t be happier that he participated.
“I thought GBV was just for women. I realised this was not true. I got to understand that we men can share how we’re hurting so we can get justice. I learnt that it is possible for me to rape my wife,” he said.
The training featured role plays which helped the participants better understand what they were learning in theory.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is playing an integral role in providing technical assistance and training.
Dr. Persaud continues to urge participants to do justice to their training and to be agents of transformation. She is also hopeful that the graduates will use their training to influence the rest of the police force and to call out, and even report, errant officers.