More officers to keep children safe

2015-10-06 06:00
Mayor Patricia de Lille and the City’s policing director Robbie Robberts welcomed 36 law enforcement officers to a school safety programme last week. 

city of cape town

Mayor Patricia de Lille and the City’s policing director Robbie Robberts welcomed 36 law enforcement officers to a school safety programme last week. PHOTO: city of cape town

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School children in Mitchell’s Plain are to receive further protection and social services.

New law enforcement staff, who will also provide social support, are to be deployed to 36 schools in the area.

Officials attended the launch of this school resource officer unit at Cedar High School on Thursday last week.

“We want every child to become a useful citizen, and not useless citizen,” said mayor Patricia de Lille at the launch.

“These 36 school resource officers underscore our commitment to building a safe city and are an investment that we are making into the futures of our children. By ensuring safer access to educational opportunities, we are playing our part in giving them a better chance at life.”

The project initially ran as a pilot at six schools.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security says: “I want to thank the Western Cape education department for their willingness to explore this approach and De Lille for making the resources available. Most of all though, I want to thank the United States department of state and the National Association of School Resource Officers (Nasro).”

Teddy Taylor, the United States Consul-General, also attended the launch.

The officers are to help make schools safe places to learn and to build a positive relationship between law enforcement and the youth in communities, with the goal of reducing crime by children and young adults.

The officers will provide law enforcement services, including access control, search and seizure and patrols.

They are also expected to identify and address, in collaboration with the principal and safety committee, the underlying problems at schools which might lead to disorder and crime.

They will work to prevent school-related violence and crime by building safety partnerships between schools and communities.

Western Cape minister of education Debbie Schafer says it falls to the department to do what it can to create safer spaces.

“It is unfortunate that we live in a society wracked by crime and violence, and an under-resourced police service. It is thus up to us to do what we can to provide a safe environment at our schools. I am pleased that the officers are equipped to provide support to the participating schools, as well as their staff, pupils, parent groups and the communities in which they operate as they are all affected,” she says.

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