Child safety given a jump start

2016-06-07 06:00
Children from Jumpstart Crèche in Roath Road, Kenwyn, were excited to have the police visit them on Thursday 2 May. Lansdowne Police were continuing their campaign for Child Protection Week in the precinct. PHOTOS: Chevon Booysen

Children from Jumpstart Crèche in Roath Road, Kenwyn, were excited to have the police visit them on Thursday 2 May. Lansdowne Police were continuing their campaign for Child Protection Week in the precinct. PHOTOS: Chevon Booysen

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Jumpstart Crèche in Kenwyn received a nice surprise on Thursday morning when the Lansdowne police visited them.

Excited children were happy to meet the men in blue who were continuing their Child Protection Week campaign which kicked off two weeks ago.

Lansdowne station commander Colonel Herman Seals said on Thursday their campaign in the precinct will be focussed on crèches, primary and secondary schools.

“Our message that we are driving to teachers at these institutions is to remove the negative connotations they attach to the police. We want our children and youth to feel they can come to us when they are in trouble. We need our teachers to stop saying they will call the police when a child has done wrong because that instils a sense of fear in them,” says Seals.

“We want our youth to know there is an open line of communication between them and us, and we are here to help. If the children and youth in the community are experiencing violence at home, they must know that the police are there for them.”

Lansdowne police spokesperson Sergeant Nkululeko Mnyaka says the police have been fostering relationships with crèches in the area for an extended period.

“When we pulled up here today, the children came running excitedly to greet us. And this is the kind of relationship we want with our youth in the area. They should feel comfortable to engage with us and teachers shouldn’t instil fear in them either,” Mnyaka says.

The chairperson of the Lansdowne Community Policing Forum (CPF), Rafique Foflonker, also echoes that “teachers should find a new boogey man instead of the police”. “We need to remove the stigma that the police are there to scare children. Children and youth in our communities should feel free to go to the police. We do not want a situation where a child is in trouble and their first thought is not to go to the police. They need to see the police are there to assist,” Foflonker says.

Kenwyn Ratepayers’ Association chairperson Noel Crowie says he is also happy with the campaigns running in the area.

“Shopping at Lansdowne Corner (on Saturday 28 May) also became a hub of excitement as Mnyaka encountered stiff competition from the various retailers demanding the children’s attention. The noise levels were high, and the excitement palpable,” Crowie says.

The second leg of the programme swiftly moved to Salvation Army Hall in Lansdowne.

“The caring blue uniformed officers reiterated the message that children should always feel safe. The programme has been designed to positively support the themes and aims of Child Protection Week,” he says.

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