NASSAU, The Bahamas — The re-introduction of the School-Based Policing Initiative for the upcoming public school year represents the Government of The Bahamas’ commitment to counter the “alarming and unacceptable levels” of violence in Bahamian schools by providing safe school havens for young Bahamian children.
“This violence includes, but is not limited to, instances of the sale and abuse of drugs, truancy, bullying, vandalism, assault, gang activities and the use of weapons,” Minister of National Security, Dr. the Hon. Bernard J. Nottage said.
Dr. Nottage said the Initiative will reintroduce trained police officers onto pubic school campuses to assist school administrators, teachers and security offices in maintaining a safe school environment.
The School-Based Police Officer’s role will be to enforce all laws of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in respect of crimes committed on school property; to make schools, on and off campuses, crime free, zero tolerance zones and to establish and maintain close and open relationships with school administrators, security and students to collaborate on common goals.
“Through their collaborative efforts, preventative mediations will be embarked upon to identify and prevent planned and random acts of violence and to intervene and lend support to students at-risk of, or already engaged in, violent and anti-social behaviour,” Dr. Nottage said.
“This collaboration will properly underscore and seek to institute the consistent protocols inherent in establishing a harmonious and safe framework where all stakeholders work in tandem to achieve common goals,” Dr. Nottage added.
The National Security Minister said his ministry is committed to the Government’s mandate to introduce a sustainable national crime agenda that will reduce and control crime throughout The Bahamas.
“The re-introduction of the School-Based Police Initiative is in keeping with the broader national vision and the more parochial educational vision to create safety in one of the pertinent institutions of society – the school,” Dr. Nottage said.
“Additionally, through the implementation of safe school policing initiative, the partnership between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of National Security, has been strengthened. It is our shared vision that the schools and wider community be transformed, and order and safety restored,” Dr. Nottage added.
Dr. Nottage said the Initiative will allow school students to interact with members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in a “positive and sustainable continuum of activities and experiences” that would allow the myth of viewing police officers as adversaries to be “proactively dispelled.”
School-Based Police Officers, he said, will join efforts with teachers and administrators in providing an educational forum for the dissemination of information and training opportunities that should result in steering youth from destructive and immoral choices or influences.
“The benefits of such a partnership are not limited or exclusive to the school environment of students, teachers and administrators,” Dr. Nottage said. “The benefits will directly impact the home, inclusive of parents and/or guardians, the wider community and by extension, the nation.
“When students assume their rightful roles within society, free of violence and pessimism, order is established, and this augurs well for the individual, the home, the school and the society. Conversely, when students adopt negative and violent behaviours, the school and nation are negatively impacted.
“The re-introduction of the School-Based Policing Initiative will ensure that the latter does not occur,” Dr. Nottage added.