THE EDITOR: Illegal street vending takes place daily. The police and other authorities reserve the right to take the appropriate legal action. They cannot be faulted for this line of action. But, like everything else, the police can exercise discretion.
The true spirit of community policing stipulates that the police must work with the various stakeholders such as illegal vendors, buyers, regional corporations, Town and Country, traffic management, markets, supermarkets, taxi associations, private sector, schools etc.
The aim is for the community policing unit in each station to meet with the above and find a resolution to the core problem at hand. Timelines should also be set with clear objectives.
To do otherwise would be the traditional hard-line policing which may not be appropriate to deal with illegal street vending. The hard-line approach may be more suitable to murders, drug trafficking, white-collar crime etc.
From the surface, illegal street vending is satisfying some need. Many people patronise the illegal vendors in some way – even police officers themselves. The ultimate aim is for the authorities to get a win-win situation for all. And community policing can be the coordinating mechanism for this change that is needed.
It makes no sense preaching something like community policing but not practising it. For once, let us try something different.
IAN RAMDHANIE via e-mail