Speak up, be heard

CRIME prevention, everyone’s responsibility!

This was the theme at the launch of the Scholastic Crime Stoppers Program at Nausori’s Dilkusha Methodist High School a week ago.

Many people may wonder what this actually reflects as criminal activities around us tend to increase every day.

The launch of this program is actually targeting students and their responsibilities in schools.

It is important for them to fully understand that while they go to school to learn, they also have an important responsibility to look after their colleagues who may go through some form of bullying and some other forms of criminal activities that other students may have been involved in, in school but have not been made known to teachers.

Divisional police commander Eastern Division Senior Superintendent of Police Manoj Singh highlighted children, teachers and parents need to collectively work in partnership with the Fiji Police Force and other stakeholders for safer place to learn, work and live in.

“Crime is becoming like a disease which Fiji Police Force alone cannot cure,” SSP Singh said.

“But owning such programs in school and community, yes, we can step up and say no to crime.

“The Fiji Police Force is fully committed ensuring that crime prevention remains at the forefront of our efforts to support the people we serve.”

SSP Singh noted the importance of scholastic program which to some extent had been overlooked by some secondary schools.

The program began in 2004 which assisted in proactive approach that uses students to prevent and solve criminal activities in schools and it’s one of the best and least expensive crime prevention strategies.

He highlighted that under the concept of Duavata Community Policing, such programs should voluntarily come in numbers by schools so at the end of the day, we are able to sleep and rise up in peace.

The Scholastic Crime Stoppers Program evolved from the Crime Stoppers Program which allows students to provide tips about crimes they witness, committed in their school premises.

Students can remain anonymous in reporting as far as fear is concerned.

As such, it is a timely reporting concept where issues can be addressed by the board embers in co-ordination with the school principal unless serious in nature would be reported to police for investigation reasons.

SSP Singh also highlighted that the above theme is an eye-opener and seeking ownership for individual action.

“There is nothing truer than prevention is better than cure and in relation to crime, prevention should be at the top of everyone’s agenda as it starts from home.”

Dilkusha principal Sateyndra Singh said the school initially faced some challenges and resistance at some stages during the program’s implementation.

The program, he said, would provide an enabling environment for those students who would be unable to raise their concerns directly to relevant authorities.

In terms of reporting, Mr Singh highlighted students were now opening up to report child-related incidences not only the ones emerging in school but from their social setting as they had now come to realise that crime prevention was everyone’s responsibility.

This step which has been taken by Dilkusha should be followed by every other school in Fiji.

It is a very important measure in terms of addressing criminal and child-related incidences which they may have encountered in schools.

Most of these cases in previous years have gone unreported maybe because students did not feel emboldened or confident enough to report them.

It is important that a scholastic program is set up in every school in Fiji so our students, if they so wish, can report what they feel is not right in their respective schools.

Many issues are happening in our schools right now but it could be that a certain percentage is not being reported. Sometimes, this reluctance to report may be because of students not wanting to be seen as weak and/or the fear of being victimised by those who had carried out the wrongdoing.

To all students, it is high time you stand up for your right and do what you believe is right.

Parents should also carry out their responsibility at home and educate their children on the right thing to do because what children are taught at home will carry them a long way.

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