Monday, 28 April 2008 11:15 AM

Child-Friendly Police Reach the Provinces

Twenty more police officers have completed Save the Children's innovative Child-Friendly Policing training this week.

It is the second time that the program has taken place and the first occasion that police outside of Honiara have attended. Officers from Guadalcanal, Makira, Western Province and Malaita participated the three-day training and will return home on Friday with new skills and an increased awareness of the rights that children possess.

Acting Crime Manager from Auki, Patricia Leta was impressed with the course and is eager to use her new skills. "The workshop was very useful," she said, "Soon after my return, I will be conducting a lecture about children's rights for all police in Auki."

The Director of the Social Welfare division Mr Aaron Olofia also spoke to the participants today. He highlighted the need for police, Social Welfare and other government stakeholders to work together to provide the best outcomes for children and juveniles, particularly post arrest.

To conclude the day, officers from the initial training in February joined the group. Acting Sergeant Colin Ramosalu said that after he and other colleagues attended the course 'that there has been a change in attitude in police officers. "We are now aware about dealing with children and juveniles in a more professional manner," he said.

A presentation of certificates by Assistant Commissioner of Direction and Standards Edmond Sikua and Save the Children Country Program Director Ramesh Puri then took place. "We have learned from research that most of the work police are doing is dealing with juvenile offenders. We need to address the issues related to the arrest and detention of children so all members of Solomon Islands Police force can be trained to deal sensitively and appropriately with this vulnerable group," Mr Puri said.

In the coming months a series of Child-Friendly Police posters will be released. The aim of the campaign is to further educate people about what it means to be a child-friendly police officer and to make them aware that such officers now work in, and for, their community. The program is supported by the EU Micro Project Program and NZAID.