By Aaron Humes: Eastern Division Police have implemented a program to address concerns about youths being on the streets after dark and vulnerable to being persuaded to commit crime.
While he would not give us specific details via telephone yesterday, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Eastern Division South, Chester Williams, has confirmed that the program is underway. Our reports say that so far no youths have had to be picked up in the last three days.
The new initiative has the support of different youth service agencies, including the Ministry of Human Development, the Truancy Unit of the Ministry of Education and RESTORE Belize.
Essentially, minors found on the streets after nine o’clock at night will be held at the police station, in a different room from persons being detained for crimes.
ACP Williams, who spoke to reporters on Friday, made clear that parents, not their children, are the targets of the program; a formal protocol will be established where the parents will meet with the Community Rehabilitation Department and formally warned in writing; a second offence would lead to charges of child neglect.
The initiative comes after police charged a 14 year old for the murder of 18 year old Mario Trotman and two teenagers for the murder of Godfrey Hemsley, both occurring earlier this week.
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