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Cops: Set up youth clubs in all schools

Published: 
Thursday, February 25, 2016

With the spotlight now on school violence and misbehaving teens, the Police Service (TTPS) is calling on the Ministry of Justice to set up police youth clubs in all primary and secondary schools.

Speaking at the weekly press briefing yesterday ACP Enez Joseph, in charge of community policing, made the call days after two school teens appeared in court charged with threatening their teacher and a security guard. 

“We will like to see the Ministry of Education institutionalise and incorporate police youth clubs in all primary and secondary schools and we will like to see greater collaboration among government agencies to more effectively address the issue of school violence,” Joseph said. 

She said there were other programmes, such as the city programme, that children who are deemed troublesome could be enrolled in with the aim of turning them into model students and averting prison sentences. She said even a child charged with a criminal offence could be placed in the programme rather than have a conviction recorded. 

Joseph said there had been some decreases in criminal activity in some areas perpetrated by teens. In 2015, she said, 45 serious crimes involving students were reported to have been committed in schools, compared to 57 the previous year. Joseph said that reports of criminal offences against teachers and principals for 2015 were 44 while there were 37 such reports the year prior. 

She added: “If we include all types of crimes as the minor crimes and minor offences, we had a total of 239 in 2015, down from 280 in 2014. With respect of reports of cyber bullying involving students we had 25 cases in 2015 down from 35 in 2014. 

“Of the cases reported in 2015, 15 involved allegations of harassment, five for defamation of character and five pertaining to sexual offences.

“The TTPS acknowledges it has a key role in helping to shape and mold the lives of young people, especially those deemed to be at risk or vulnerable to negative influences which would ultimately redound to the overall good of society. “This focus on youth development, therefore, is part of a long term policing strategy and it is in tandem with one of the goals of the TTPS to be more citizen centred in our delivery of policing services.” 

Public information officer ASP Michael Pierre said there were currently 112 police youth clubs with over 10,000 youths.