By ERWIN CHLANDA
Only one school in the southern NT, the Centralian Middle School, will have school based police officers re-introduced. Most of the other nine schools to get them are in the Top End.
The scheme was scrapped by the Giles Government about five years ago and Tabby Fudge (pictured), the president of the NT Council of Government School Organisations, called for the re-introduction in March last year.
Nicole Manison, Minister for Police, and Selena Uibo, Minister for Education, say in a media release the new model “aims to address issues raised during the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children with a greater focus on safety.
“Police will operate in collaboration with Youth and Community Engagement Constables model during and after school hours and beyond the school environment to target youth at risk of disengaging.
“We also want to ensure that a child’s first encounter with a police officer is a positive one.”
The release says this model is an improvement on the old program and acknowledges that a “one size fits all” approach does not work.
“It ensures there are more resources available to deal with youth who need greater attention and assistance. The new model also allows greater flexibility to target at risk youth who might not be attending school or who might not be attending class on a regular basis.
“The model has been co-designed with other agencies to enhance relationships in the community and align with the recommendations of the Royal Commission. An interim report of the program will be compiled in Term 1, 2019.”
All school based police will carry firearms and may use impact resistant vests: “This takes into consideration the current threat level, and also provides members with the ability to respond to emergencies,” says the release.
Are these schools chosen “bad” schools?
Says the release: “These schools has been chosen using an intelligence-led, evidence-based approach.”
What about schools which miss out?
“Principals and school staff can contact the Sergeant of Community and Youth Engagement during business hours via email or telephone,” says the release.
By ERWIN CHLANDA