Police express concern over youth-on-youth violence

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Police Public Relations Officer, Inspector Frankie Thomas. (social media photo)
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By Makeida Antonio

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The level of violence displayed among young people in Antigua and Barbuda has become concerning for the police administration.

In the last few weeks, school fights and a beating in the street which left one teen in the hospital receiving ICU care caused outrage and sparked conversation on social media as to how young people can resolve their issues amicably.

Police PRO Inspector Frankie Thomas said that lawmen have seen in the past where the country’s young people lack understanding of conflict resolution.

“We have seen where differences are settled with aggression, violence and in some cases criminal outcomes and this is a concern for us because they are the future of this country. It is not the police’s effort alone but it must be a cohesive, collaborative effort coming from every member of this country,” Thomas said in an interview yesterday.

Thomas believes that the Ministry of Education inclusive of Director of Education Clare Browne and all its technocrats should not hold all the responsibility in providing guidance for the youth

He, however, advocated for community leaders to promote programmes to assist young people in quelling their differences without violence and crime.

“I just hope that going forward we see some level of improvement, we see some level of discontinuation of that type of behaviour, this level of aggression that is coming from our young people. At the end of the day, not only are they injuring themselves but also, they are also creating that level of distraction for others who are going to these places of learning to at least gain an education and that should be a concern for the entire nation,” Thomas said.

Meanwhile, the Police PRO explained that the Youth Intervention Unit (YIU) – a department within the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda – has been working with at risk youths and their families to prevent them from going down an unfavourable path in life.

“[It] was created with one concept in mind – to redirect our young people from being incarcerated and to refocus their minds from getting into serious issues with the law and work along with them, their families and even stepping into the schools which they attend to see how best we can be a motivator and mentorship to them because that is clearly the idea of the Youth Intervention Unit.”

Thomas added that it is his desire to see YIU continue giving life-changing services for the nation’s youth so they can grow into productive citizens in their adulthood.

“The team is very professional which continues to work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education. I know they have their mandate cut out for them. They have been involved in the development of our youth and I trust that we will see some good results.”

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