Basseterre, St. Kitts, June (SKNIS): Education is a key element in the fight against crime, says Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty, who appeared on Wednesday's (June 21) edition of "Working for You," noting that there are ways that schools can help students showing criminal tendencies.
"These [crimes] did not happen overnight," said Mr. Petty, referring to the wave of crime being committed by mainly young men. "These people were showing those tendencies while they were in school and so we have to step up what we do in schools."
Early this year, Crime Reduction Specialist and Social Skills Consultant, Neals Chitan, visited St. Kitts and Nevis to launch a social skills campaign, 'Project STOP 'n' THINK", which was designed to engage strategies to help individuals, families and communities in the Federation to avoid a number of behavioral issues and criminal tendencies.
"We want to move along those lines and intensify it," said the permanent secretary. He mentioned that there were other programmes like the Teen and Police Service Academy (TAPS), which is an eleven week intensive programme, where the police teach and discuss topics associated with crimes, drugs and other areas to school goers.
The Ministry of National Security is partnering with the Ministry of Education, which recommends that there should be TAPS clubs.
"So, we try to hold student from form one and two right through the school," explained Mr. Petty. "So it's not just about doing a TAPS programme and that's it. It would be done with them throughout the school and there will be activities.
Mr. Petty revealed that National Security is planning in September to introduce Cadets into all schools in St. Kitts.
"We have identified some police who are going to be a Resource Unit who are going to teach the TAPS," he said. "They are also going to be working with the schools, with the cadet programme and also the community in trying to identify a set of police in collaboration with the commissioner who are really walking the communities to try to meet with some of these youth 'on de block.' We are also going to try to meet with some of these families."
The permanent secretary said that police going into the communities is something that is lacking.
"Mr. Chitan will be called in to speak to groups not only in the community centers, but right on the clock where there is a shop, or go to their families," he said. "So, we are trying to intensify a systematic presence of police in the communities.
Mr. Petty said that areas where there is a police presence, they were able to develop a relationship with the youth.
"So, that is really beginning to roll out as soon as possible hopefully by next week," he said, noting that some activities will be done this week in several communities.
Also being intensified are projects done by the Social Services Department, both in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The permanent secretary said that Mr. Chitan will also be back to do some work in the primary schools as "they need much attention." He revealed that Mr. Chitan will be rolling out an intense programme in the primary schools as well as community presentations.
Commissioner of Police, Ian Queleey, said that children spend a percentage of their time at school and it is there where counselling at risk youth can start. He added that at school good values can be instilled in youth so that they can be able to analyze situations and move along a straight and narrow path.