Ex security personnel from the different security units in the country have formed an association dubbed: 'Safer Gambia Association' (SGA) with the objective of mitigating and preventing crimes from happening.
The group, which also includes some civilians is the 1st and 2nd cohort of community based policing and security studies of The Gambia College.
Officials of the association said they would be embarking on a rigorous sensitisation throughout the country and targeting hot-spot areas and sensitising them on the needs for crime prevention and also discussing with young people the menace of irregular migration among others.
Speaking at a convergence held in Brikama, Morri Kebba Camara, the president of the association, said: "The association's objective is purely for crime prevention. We are going to educate the security forces and the community on how to prevent crimes. We are also going to sensitise them on the importance and need for community policing and also help them restore peace within communities that are in conflict."
"Our focus will be putting up measures that will prevent crimes likes building positive character traces and also increasing young people's ability to make good decision in order to achieve positive outcomes," he said.
Camara added: "We want the public to understand that crime is not something that one can prevent by acting alone. That's completely out of it. In dealing with crimes, you need to work with partners and that's why the public need to understand that neither the police, nor the government or other law enforcement agencies can prevent crimes acting alone."
Crime prevention, he said, is not a 'Rambo show' where an individual can be seen acting alone. "You need to partner with people to make sure that you get what you want to get. If the government and others work together, be assured that we can deliver a significant progress in preventing and mitigating crimes," he added.
Bubacarr Sanyang, the secretary general of the association, said: "SGA was formed to work closely with the government in fighting crimes in the country."
"We deemed it necessary that after our academic year, it's important that we come up with the association in order to show our expertise and skills to the general public in combating various forms of crimes. Therefore, our skills and knowledge will be able to help and mitigate the situation," he said.
The association, he said, has both short and long term plans. "Our short term plan is to embark on a Town Hall meeting within the hot-spot areas with a view to sensitise them on how to prevent crimes when it is about to happen and the steps to avert it from happening. Part of our long term plans is also to build the capacity of our country's security personnel because some of them lack community policing skills."
For his part, Sainey Kanuteh, said security is everyone's business. "We deem it fit that this is everybody's concern. We join forces to ensure that crimes are drastically reduced in the country. We will engage the security chiefs with a view to better inform them about the idea of the association and how we will work together in tackling crimes."
Sensitisation within the communities, he added, will be center stage of their work. "We will be engaging the communities and sensitising them on the need to partake in crime prevention. This is a very important national issue. We will be using the various radio stations and sensitise Gambians on drug related issues among others. People could be doing something without knowing that it's unlawful. 'But ignorance of the law is not an excuse.' That's why this association will help to sensitise them. We will be also engaging schools by giving public lectures," he posited.
"There are a lot of people outside there that don't have the knowledge on crime prevention. They just saw it happening but they don't know how to tackle it or prevent it from happening or even where to report it. We will be going out and meeting the people and talking to them on what to do in order to prevent crimes. This will go a long way in helping the police, the government and the society among others," another member, Bubacarr Sanyang said.
Masireh Ceesay said: "As the first cohort at The Gambia college, we deemed it necessary to form this association and complement government's efforts in its desire for crime prevention. We want to implement what we learn at the college to the public."