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  • Head of the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB), Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bishop Dr. Gary Welch, says the branch is committed to the continuation and expansion of the Safe School Programme.
  • The Assistant Commissioner was speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on January 27, at the Agency’s Head Office in Kingston.
  • He informed that the Safe School Programme is in all categories of schools; however, challenging institutions get more attention.

Head of the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB), Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bishop Dr. Gary Welch, says the branch is committed to the continuation and expansion of the Safe School Programme.

“Many years ago the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) started a Police Cadet Programme through which many of our senior officers were filtered. We intend to expand the school programme to include a version of this Police Cadet Programme,” ACP Welch said.

The Assistant Commissioner was speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on January 27, at the Agency’s Head Office in Kingston.

“We will work through our Curriculum Development and Coordination Unit to create a special programme, which will be delivered in schools, particularly at the sixth form level. The hope is that this will be a ‘spring board bridge’ for youngsters who are interested in policing to be part of this great institution,” ACP Welch explained.

Meanwhile, he informed that the Safe School Programme is in all categories of schools; however, challenging institutions get more attention.

“If we were to quantify our involvement in school using hours, it could be reported that we spent fewer hours in 2014 in troubled schools that we did in 2013 and we can use that as an indicator to show that our presence has meaningful value that impacts positive behavioural changes in schools,” ACP Welch said.

Also highlighting the successes of the Safe School Programme was Deputy Superintendent of Police, Marcia Reid, an Administrative Officer of the CSSB, who noted that the programme has come a long way.

“We had less violence in schools last year in comparison to the year before, as we have been working closely with our partners – parents, school administrators and the Ministry of Education,” she said.

DSP Reid also highlighted that they are aiming to reduce the number of schools on the programme, based on behaviour modification and the cooperation from their partners.

“We also want to reduce the number of safe school officers permanently placed in schools,” she said.

Schools are placed on the Safe School Programme based on the number of reported incidents from school administrators and even from the community, as there are cases in which students misbehave when they are in the school zone.

“Therefore, we are not confined to the school, we are located in some public spaces where students gather after school hours,” DSP Reid said.

She also informed that the CSSB makes presentations and visits to schools that are not experiencing incidents of violence.

“Sometimes we are invited, and in other cases we invite ourselves, making presentations about traffic, safety issues and other areas they request,” she added.

To date, 174 Safe Resource Officers have made some 6,000 visits and delivered 2,153 lectures and presentations to 134 school islandwide. Also, in 2014 the CSSB did major work at the Calabar High School through an Operational Transformation Mentorship Programme, with over 40 boys participating.

The Safe Schools Programme was implemented in September 2004 and is an initiative of three government ministries – National Security, Health and Education, and Youth and Culture – in partnership with several non-governmental organisations with a focus on youth.

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