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Cops will arrest fighting schoolchildren

Thursday, March 20 2014

The police will have no other choice but to arrest students involved in school fights and bring them before the court, if proactive measures in the matter fail, Inspector Wayne Mystar of the Police Service Public Affairs Unit said yesterday.

Mystar was referring to a fight among female students outside Mucurapo West Secondary School, St James last Friday, at the weekly press briefing at Police Administration Building, corner of Edward and Sackville streets, Port-of-Spain. He said the Police Service had zero tolerance for school violence and when dealing with it, they have a hard and soft approach. Arresting students was the hard approach while the soft was using the Police Service’s anti-bullying campaign which is currently taking place in schools in Port-of-Spain. He said there are police liaison officers who will go to the school and arrange lectures and members of the Victim and Witness Support Unit provide mediation.

Mystar said the police have taken the campaign to Mucurapo West and other schools in and around the Western Division.

He advised members of the public if they come across a school fight to take their personal safety into consideration before thinking of intervening.

“We won’t like members of the public to make a decision to intervene if they know they can’t handle a situation, so we advise persons to call the police to intervene. If citizens can assist in a meaningful way without compromising their safety we recommend persons assist and at least do something about it,” he said.

PC Jalani Prince, who was off duty, tried to stop last Friday’s brawl. Mystar commended him for trying to intervene as he compromised his personal safety to address the situation.

Head of the Western Division Snr Supt Ishmael David also praised Prince yesterday.

“The police intervention by the off duty police officer from the Court and Process Branch, was very commendable, and the community police officers will continue to work with the principal, dean, parents and teachers and the pupils concerned to see how the juveniles should be treated.”

He added that the community police officers in his division and the CID have been making patrols when schools in the area are over.

“The community officers have also been making interventions in the schools at the request of principals with certain unwarranted behaviour, so we will continue that,” said David.

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