JIS News

The Safe Schools Programme, which was introduced in November 2004 by Government to tackle undesirable and anti social behaviour and violence in schools, is proving to be a success in St. Thomas.
This was noted by Superintendent of Police in charge of the parish, Doric Sinclair, at a recent ‘Safer Community’ forum held in the parish.
Giving a report on the effectiveness of the programme in the parish, Superintendent Sinclair said last year the Police was able to address 60 incidents at schools in the parish. These, he said, ranged from sexual offences, fighting and stealing.
“We seized about 63 knives, ice picks, scissors and various others at the schools.We actually believe that this programme is a very important initiative, one that is working and should be embraced by all stakeholders,” the Superintendent said.
He also pointed out that St. Thomas itself has been experiencing a downturn in crime. Figures outlined by Mr. Sinclair showed a 38 per cent decline in crime last year, compared with the previous year.
The Superintendent attributed the reduction to a strong collaboration between the community and the Police. “That, plus an effective community policing strategy, have helped to reduce the incidence of crime in the parish,” he said.
The Safe Schools Programme involves the interaction of personnel from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), acting as School Resource Officers (SRO), where they mentor troubled students and mediate in disputes.
They also work with the school administration to identify and monitor areas on school compounds that pose danger to students.
At the official launch of the programme in Kingston in November 2004, Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, said that “if our schools are in danger, then our future as a country is in trouble”.
He pointed out that young people were the main victims and perpetrators of violence, and cited statistics which showed that children of school age were responsible for 14 per cent of murders and 16 per cent of all rapes, while 80 per cent of all arrests were young people under 30 years of age. He noted further, that young men made up 75 per cent of inmates in the penal system.