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New programmes for schools

Learners to be equipped with safe and reliable tools to report crime.

The Gauteng Department of Education, Crime Line and the police have joined forces in a bid to equip learners with safe and reliable tools to report crime and social issues in Gauteng schools.

The Springs police recently held meetings with the district office of education Springs, school governing bodies, EMPD learners representatives and school principals in addressing the criminal and social problems that are affecting our schools.

“We are here to ensure that crime has no place in our schools. We want the learners to report any form of violence, whether it be bullying, physical and sexual assault and corporal punishment in your school,” says Gauteng Education MEC, Barbara Creecy.

Springs police spokesman Captain Johannes Ramphora says the aim of the whole effort was to find the common working policy document that is going to work across the board.

“In all our schools if possible starched to other schools in the Gauteng East region and places covered by the Department of Education,” he says Captain Johannes Ramphora, Springs police spokesman.

Creecy said the department recognizes that it has a responsibility to continually work towards a school environment in which learners, educators and school principals feel and are safe.

“The launch of the Young Crime Liners indicates our commitment to ensuring learning and teaching takes place in a safe environment, free from violence. The police can’t be everywhere, but the learners are there and you have a lot of information about criminal activity. We hope that this initiative will empower our learners to seek help and report crime happening in our schools,” said Creecy.

Creecy also indicated that this project will be rolled out school by school in Gauteng.

The Young Crime Liners is an additional intervention to the department’s five year Schools Safety Strategy that guides schools and departmental officials in their work.

The five year safety plan is to standardise school policy development and implementation and to give psycho social support. To promotion alternative forms of discipline and also the advocacy of programmes.

Creecy stipulates the department needs to have active law enforcement in partnerships with law enforcement agencies and to effectively secure the physical environs of schools.

As part of implementing the strategy, the department, has as of this year, put in place mechanisms to compile statistics of bullying and violence in schools.

The initiative comes in the wake of an alarming number of incidents that have dominated social media networks over the past week, illustrating the high levels of bullying and other criminal behaviour in schools.

“We have seen a number of videos go viral and stories dominating headlines of a variety of crimes perpetrated by or against children at schools in the province. They range from cases of sexual abuse, bullying, drug dealing and violence. Unfortunately these cases go mainly unreported with tragic consequences,” said head of Crime Line, Yusuf Abramjee.

Capt Ramphora adds what they picked up at local schools is drugs, dangerous weapons, bullying, assaults, gangsterism which involves groups like the RAF 3 and the 26s in the schools, and other forms of violence

The process of this project that was launched is also linked to a provincial school safety executive committee and the social crime coordinator is involved in this effort to try and cab these young crime liners in our schools and makes schools a better, safe place for learners and educators to work in.

He says the children should also be equip with info, regular school visits, school searches for drugs and dangerous weapons, crime awareness talks, shows and patrols are being conducted by social crime prevention unit and sector managers.

Gauteng was rocked recently with videos that went viral of a Grade 8 Glenvista learner attacking a teacher and the assault of a teen by two fellow pupils at a school in Pretoria.

Creecy urged learners to use the tip-off lines as they were able to arrest learners who brought a gun to school, because of information you brought us.

“The Young Crime Liners initiative aims to empower learners with tools to break the silence around criminal and social issues that they face on a daily basis. It is also open to parents, educators and other members of the public to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children,” Abramjee added.

Crime Line’s anonymous SMS service is 32211 at a cost of R1/SMS.

Crime Stop’s 08600 10111 are open to Young Crime Liners to report crime without revealing their identity.

Tip-offs that refer to criminal behaviour will be dealt with by the police, while problems requiring social interventions will be escalated to the relevant support structures.

“The initiative aims to find ways that we can support and guide our children when crimes are committed against them. Children are often afraid to report certain crimes for a variety of reasons, but we are offering them a chance to speak up within a safe environment,” Abramjee added.

The project was inspired by Lead SA’s Bill of Responsibilities initiative, which forms part of the Life Orientation curriculum in schools.

“We are all responsible to ensure our rights as enshrined in our Constitution. Speaking up and doing the right thing goes a long way in ensuring that we break the cycle of violence, crime and abuse in our schools,” Abramjee said.

The initiative will be absorbed into schools over the coming months as the Young Crime Liners programme will visit schools across the province.

Feedback and suggestions can be directed to info@crimeline.co.za.

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