The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force is urging young people to celebrate the end of their school year and commencement of the long Christmas holidays safely.

Deputy Director of the National Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) Inspector Florence Taro today sought to remind Solomon Islands youth to take care of each other in lead-up to Christmas.

"As it is the end of the school year and lead-up to Christmas, we often sees an increase in risky behaviour and reports of assaults and sexual assaults being made to police. So I wish to give some timely advice on personal safety issues to members of public, particularly youth," Inspector Taro said.

"Police wish to remind young women and boys to take care of their own personal safety and each other during this time.

"Now that schools and classes stop for a while, exams are over and for many it is time to celebrate. However many celebrations in the lead-up to Christmas can end in tears and despair if you are not careful," Inspector Taro said.

"At the completion of the school year a lot of people are travelling around town or going home for Christmas to other parts of Guadalcanal or across the sea to their home provinces.

"Young people are also more likely to be drinking liquor and perhaps experimenting with alcohol or drugs as they grow older.

"I just wish to give a friendly warning that under the influence of alcohol you may take bad risks or behave in ways you would not normally or how your parents expect," she said.

"Many unnecessary car accidents, injuries and deaths are caused by alcohol abuse and bad decisions made by innocent passengers.

Inspector Taro urged young people not to accept rides with strangers or even family members or other people you know who are driving whilst drunk.

"Do not drive under the influence of alcohol yourself and never take family vehicles, or a friend's car without their consent or permission," she said.

"If you are planning to drink to celebrate your freedom from school classes, know your body's own limits and stay in control. Try and supply your own alcohol, only party with someone you trust.

"Make sure you advise mum and dad or other responsible family members where you shall be and when to expect you home. Make sure you call them so they know if you are safe, or just delayed.

Inspector Taro urged youth to take care of their close friends and party together in a safe place or a public place.
"Avoid walking alone in isolated areas of town, particularly at night. Stick to the main areas and well lit places," she said.

"If you are the parent of a young person who is starting to live their own life and party away from home, talk to them about any concerns you have about their behaviour or personal safety."

"All young people, especially the boys need to be careful about moving around as drunken groups. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, avoid harsh words and don't provoke fights with other groups. Above all, don't carry weapons, small knives or bush knives around town," Inspector Taro said.

"Simple disagreements can easily get out of hand and end in serious injuries or death. If an argument between boys gets out of control, you or your close friends may be hurt or find yourselves arrested for criminal offences.

"For the girls, I urge you not to go out into remote areas of bush or accept rides to unknown destinations. This way you help prevent unwanted attention, abductions, sexual assault and rape," she said.

Stay smart, be responsible and take precautions wherever you go: Know that the people with you are safe,Let someone know where you are going,Never accept a lift from a stranger,Never accept a lift from a drunken driver

Inspector Taro also urged all parents should also take special care not leave any young children alone in the house or in the care of others.

"This is because too many sexual assaults of young children are the result of opportunistic abuse by friends or family members. Parents have a responsibility to protect their children from harm," she said.

"If you experience a serious physical assault, sexual assault or suspect it has happened to someone you love, please do not feel too ashamed or afraid to tell someone. Assault is a crime so tell trusted family members and report the matter to police.

"This allows police to investigate the incident, take action and help prevent the offender from doing the same thing to others innocent people. Working together helps prevent crime so everyone is safer."

Source: Police Media Unit