By Sasha Lightbourne
The school-based policing programme, which is a component of Urban Renewal 2.0, was launched on Friday at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre.
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said the introduction of the programme is part of the government’s efforts to “break the back of crime and violence and to create a safer Bahamas.”
“The school-based police officers will be responsible for developing positive relationships with members of the school organisation, establish protocol for the prevention and investigation of all school related occurrences of violence and criminal activities in the schools,” he said.
“This initiative will ensure that the environment in our schools is conducive to learning. Through this initiative we have strengthened the partnership between the Minister of Education and the Ministry for National Security to re-assign police officers in the schools. In the schools they will be called school-based policing officers.”
Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade could not, however, give a direct number for how many police will be involved in the programme.
“All members of the police force are part of the programme,” he explained.
“We have selected distinct officers who will be assigned to each school on a daily basis. Some schools will have three, some will have more than three and some will have two however every single police officer is going to be attuned to what’s happening come the opening of school.”
Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson also welcomed the new addition of personnel for the new school year.
“We are pleased to partner with both ministries,” she told reporters.
“I want to also note that the commissioner tried very hard last year to have this initiative because we had a meeting and we agreed that the police officers would assist which they did but we are happy to see that the programme is being developed and is back.”
Minister Fitzgerald also explained that that school-based policing is expected to compliment the disciplinary programmes and strategies that already exist in the schools.
“These disciplinary procedures are clearly articulated in the Department of Education Safe School manual which outlines the expectation of students’ behaviour and consequences for misbehaviour. This manual also outlines the responsibilities of administrators and teachers.”
The minister said the manual can be found on www.bahamaseducation.com.
“An inspector will have direct responsibility for the assignment of officers within each division,” Minister Fitzgerald.
“The school-based police officer will have a reporting relationship with the inspector of his division and the principal of the relevant school. “
A training workshop will be held this week at the police conference centre for two days for the officers, school administrators, guidance counselors, attendance officers, security officers and school psychologists.”
The officers will be in the schools as of September 3.
August 27, 2012
The Bahama Journal