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Religious orgs, police battling crimes among youths

The Home Affairs Ministry on Thursday announced that the police and religious community are successfully battling crime among youths since the formation of the Cops and Faith Community Network  (CFCN) one month ago.

“In all cases the youths were counselled by the religious leaders and following the involvement of parents/guardians, the majority of the victims were warned and sent away. Charges were made in four (4) instances, but the matters dismissed after the victims offered no evidence,” said the ministry responsible for internal security.

Government said it is considering whether to extend the programme to other areas of Guyana. “An assessment and evaluation of the CFCN is currently being conducted with a view to determining whether it should be extended to other communities throughout the Policing Divisions,” he said.

Figures released show that 55 youths were detained by police and supported by members of the religious community.

The interventions involved in 31 females and 24 male juveniles between the ages of 10 and 16 years. The offences for which they were detained included assault, assault causing bodily harm, throwing missiles, simple larceny, wandering, use of indecent language, abusive language and threatening behavior.

The CFCN was launched by the Home Affairs Ministry as a pilot project in 10 communities in which the Community Action component of the Citizen Security Programme. They are Sophia, Agricola/McDoom, Plaisance, Buxton/Friednship, Annandale/Lusignan, Angoy’s Avenue, Overwinning/Glasgow/Edinburgh, Port Mourant, Rosehall and
Kilkoy/Chesney/Fyrish

The Home Affairs Ministry said the CFCN network is yet another crime prevention effort and is intended to deal with youths who come into conflict with the law for the first time and involving in minor offences.

The CFCN aims to bring peace within communities by eliminating minor offences among youths such as cruelty to animals, threatening behavior, damage to property, abusive language and throwing of missiles among others, while seeking to ensure that other options can be utilized to deal with youths who commit such offences, via counselling, sessions rather than having them passing through the penal system.

The objectives of the programme include the creation of a mechanism for community problem solving, which as an extension may lead to community building and improved police community relations. The religious leaders will provide mediatory functions to young persons who have for the first time come into conflict with the law for minor offences. The religious leaders will avail themselves as mentors to these young offenders as a preemptive intervention to the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) and provide chaplaincy and counselling to law enforcement officers who may require such services.