Cops praise youth programme
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is hailing its flagship youth programme, the Police Youth Clubs, for helping to steer young people away from crime.
Head of the JCF's Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, said that the clubs, which have a chapter at each police station, have been instrumental in providing guidance for at-risk youth.
"We have seen significant improvement in behaviour. We have been able, over the years, to transform some of them and they are now members of the JCF," she said.
Lindsay said many of the youngsters who are part of the clubs were previously unattached, which made them vulnerable to being recruited by criminal gangs.
"A lot of the children that we encounter in the police youth programme and that we work with are those children who are not connected to a family or a formal institution, such as a main school system. They do not have a family who will provide them with guidance and support and show love and care for them, so they are looking for something or somewhere that they can get that sense of belonging," she said.
She noted that troubled youth are also indentified through the Safe School Programme, which involves collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and other key stakeholders.
Through intervention between the police and school administration, they are kept in the mainstream school system.
Lindsay said that the JCF has been working assiduously to impact youth before they are scouted by gangs.
She noted that strategies have been implemented to reach those who have already entered gangs.
The Community, Safety and Security Branch and the Ministry of Education will shortly launch the first 100 police youth clubs in schools in order to bring the initiative closer to children.