In a move aimed at reducing the influence of criminal gangs, the St. James police has moved to establish strategic partnerships with several schools in volatile communities across the parish.

Under the partnership, police stations will adopt select schools and implement a work programme that offers students an alternative to participation in the activities of criminal gangs.

Head of the St. James Police, Senior Superintendent Vernon Ellis, says law enforcers cannot afford to lose the battle for the hearts and minds of our most impressionable citizens.

SSP Vernon Ellis, head of the St. James police division.

The initiative will include targeted programs aimed at replacing gang persuasion with positive social skills and mentorship.

The full details of the programme have not yet been released.

For the past several years St. James has been at or near the top of the parish homicide list.