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Heightened safety measures - Security personnel join efforts today to protect central Kingston students

Published:Tuesday | October 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Demonstrating that the safety of children is a priority, the police have begun providing additional security for students who attend schools in and around the central Kingston area. However, the Ministry of Education is being encouraged to make good on its promise to provide private security to assist the police.

Following a recent spate of robberies and assault against children heading to or from school, administrators and student heads from eight high schools in the central Kingston area gathered at St George's College last week Tuesday to discuss safety solutions.

"Our increased presence has been implemented. We have to devise creative methods of dealing with it because one of the things is that robberies don't just take place in the evenings, but in the mornings, too. We have not seen the private security company that was promised," said Ivel Calder, deputy superintendent in charge of territorial operations within the Kingston Central Division.

"We have been patrolling and it has been going well. We also have an additional marked unit in the space. We have to ensure that we are still out there on the streets in the mornings. It is all about redoubling the effort to ensure the children are safe," she said.

Director of safety and security in schools within the education ministry, Coleridge Minto, told The Gleaner yesterday that the procurement process in selecting which security company to use alongside the police is now over and security teams would be dispatched today.

"Subsequent to the meeting last week Tuesday, we would have done a procurement process and that, naturally as you can appreciate, took some time, but we have completed all necessary processes and the patrols begin as of today (October 9). There are a number of corridors that will be patrolled in the afternoon and that will include the North Street, South Camp Road and a number of major corridors on weekdays because we are concerned about the safety of our students, whether they are on or off the school compound," he pointed out.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com