Drugs at school escalates

2016-10-04 06:00

Concerns around the safety and security of learners at Spes Bona High School in Hazendal have come to a head after police visited the school unexpectedly.

It has emerged that the frequency of the availability of drugs on school premises has escalated following the formation of Hazendal’s “Walking Bus”.

The police search was conducted during the week of Monday 19 to Friday 23 September. Athlone police were on the lookout for contraband.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Zita Norman believes the learners were prepared for their visit after finding not much more than cigarettes and lighters.

“We went to Spes Bona on Tuesday (20 September). It was quite a routine check. All was in order; we just found cigarettes and lighters. We are going to do the schools once it reopens,” she says.

The schools are currently closed for holiday, but Norman confirms that officers also found drugs.

“We found five packets of dagga which were abandoned. The new trend is that it is supplied in a chips packet which is sealed perfectly. You would think it is a packet of chips. We found the five bankies of dagga as well as a R20 note in such a packet,” she says.

Norman adds they didn’t use sniffer dogs in the operation, but they plan to regularly conduct searches at all of the problematic schools in the area and that Spes Bona’s principal has welcomed their continued presence.

Aziza Kannemeyer, chairperson of the Athlone Community Policing Forum (CPF), is pleased that police have decided to tackle the issue of drugs on school premises, but say they should be proactive in sharing positive news for the community as well.

“People are pleased with the positive story of the drugs that have been found from the other side (at Spes Bona). The role that the media plays will change the mindset of the people,” she says.

Kannemeyer adds that the police have to find the positives in the community and that they have a duty to feed the media with the positive stories in order for the community to gain trust in their service.

“We come from an era where there is a lot of apathy towards institutions like the police. What we are trying to do as a CPF is to change that perception, but it has to come with the results,” she explains.

Kannemeyer adds that it is difficult to convince the community to trust the police again, but the police themselves have the ability to restore that trust.

“While we have to acknowledge the killings, there has to be a bigger focus on the positives. What are the win-win situations for the community, what are the ideas that will make the people rely on the police or evolve back towards the police? It is very difficult.”

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