Eurosocial : Exchange between Catalonia and Panama on community policing

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photo 1 (4)Panama City, Panama, December 2014 – The head of the department for security at the Ministry of the Interior of Catalonia (Spain), Angels Vila, went to Panama on 25-26 November to assist the Panamean police in strengthening community policing, as part of the EUROsociAL cooperation programme between Europe and Latin America, in which Efus is taking part.

As executive partner in EUROsociAL, Efus has been working with the Panamean Ministry of the Interior to help it strengthen crime prevention strategies. Efus suggested that the Ministry of the Interior of Catalonia – with which it has a cooperation agreement – would share its experience with the Panamean police.

Efus thus organised a debate with chiefs of the Panamean police on the strategy for the development of community policing and the strengthening of the prevention approach to crime. The Efus delegation also had a meeting with the Panamean Deputy Minister of Public Security, Rogelio Donadio, focused on these issues.

In addition, the Efus delegation organised a workshop on security and prevention with members of the Community Prevention Unit (Unidad Preventiva Comunitaria) of the national police, which operates in three municipalities, Curundu, El Chorrillo and Santa Ana.

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“This has been a great experience and it was really interesting to see how the police maintain close relations with the local communities,” said Angels Vila. “Their mission and methods are different from those of European police. For example they intervene in cases of truancy and there are even class rooms in some police stations where youngsters can carry out extra-curricular activities. It is also a way to prevent young urban gangs.”

It is interesting to note that the encouraging results obtained in these three municipalities are also due to the fact that the local police have strong ethical values and full support from their hierarchy. It is now envisaged to extend to other municipalities the method used there.