Gary Griffith

Gary Griffith

A “big brother” programme is coming to local secondary schools, as the Ministry of Education and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) look to partner up in helping troubled children within the system.

However, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said yesterday the programme is not about children being disciplined by the officers.

Education Minister Anthony Garcia and other education officials met with Griffith and a TTPS team yesterday to discuss how the TTPS could help improve security in schools, among other issues.

Garcia and Griffith called the meeting “very fruitful”, as it looked at how “secondary police protection” could enhance the school system.

Griffith said some covert operations are in the works but those details were to be made public as yet.

“I think it will play a big part in school security,” Griffith said.

More openly, about half of the TTPS’ 10,000 officers may soon be partnered with just as many pupils for a mentorship programme through Police Assisting Teens (PAT).

Young men,

women to benefit

Griffith said he hoped some 5,000 officers would take part in the “big brother” programme, where each officer is assigned a child.

The pupils will be selected based on a perception of their need for added guidance and counselling.

“It is not to discipline the students but to work hand in hand,” Griffith said, adding the pupils would be taken “under the wings” of their assigned officers.

The TTPS already has a programme called Street Talk in schools, which sees officers going into the institutions and interacting with pupils.

Griffith said this was part of a continued effort to change the perception of policing as being comprised only of activities like patrolling.

He said the TTPS was also looking to identify those places where pupils congregate to look for transport after school hours and to increase police presence in those places, at those times.

Garcia said some other aspects of school security were discussed, including a safety concern at the St Joseph Government Secondary School.

In September, residents around the school complained that the completed but unoccupied structure had become a “war zone”, where criminals held court and often threatened people nearby.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU