Friday, April 12, 2024

School police not feasible, says senior cop 

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THE ROYAL BARBADOS POLICE FORCE is not in a position to place police officers in schools that may have serious problems with children in terms of violence. 

This is according to Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, William Yearwood, as he spoke at the 26th anniversary Lions Club of Scotland District charter dinner at Accra Beach Hotel on Saturday night.

“The Ministry of Education and the administration of the schools must grapple with any situation on site . . . . Some teachers and principals do not have the impact which the profession once had, and I wonder what became of the ‘prefect system’ in secondary schools,” he said, adding there might be need to review certain policies, as law enforcement officers would only visit the schools from “time to time”.

Highlighting the recent upsurge in violence among children in the schools, on the streets and on public transportation, the former educator said it was a concern for both the administration within the schools and the force.

“The root cause of violence and other anti-social behaviours being displayed by some of our youths are multi-faceted, and can be linked to several determining factors . . . ., he said.

In 2017 there were 236 cases referred to the Juvenile Liaison Scheme, compared to 282 cases in 2016, 322 in 2015 and 286 in 2014.

Those 236 cases in 2017 involved 260 students – 188 boys and 72 girls. There were 89 criminal cases referred to the Scheme, with the most prevalent involving causing a disturbance, armed with an offensive weapon, assault, possession of illegal drugs, theft and wandering, which occurred mainly in the 14-15 age range.

“The force has a policy of referring the offending children to the Juvenile Liaison Scheme if parents consent to do so . . . .” Yearwood stressed.

“The force is cognisant that success in combating the scourges of violence can be achieved through a multi-dimensional approach. In this regards, non-governmental agencies, and civic-minded members and organisations of our society, all have an important role to play in the process of reducing or removing crime and violence from our society,” he said. (RA)    

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