Tobago cops crack down on loitering students

Management of The Port Mall in Scarborough in November 2022 decided to ban any student from its premises if they are not accompanied by a parent. - File photo
Management of The Port Mall in Scarborough in November 2022 decided to ban any student from its premises if they are not accompanied by a parent. - File photo

SUPT Rodhill Kirk says Tobago police will be taking a tough stand on students who are found loitering in Scarborough and other high-activity areas during and after school.

He was speaking in an interview on the Tobago Updates morning show on April 8.

Alluding to several cases of school violence on the island within the past few months, Kirk advised parents to have conversations with their teenagers about the issue.

“As we go forward to a new school term, we know the issue of violence in schools and we are asking that you make that extra effort to reach out and advise your child, especially those who are in their teenage years.”

Kirk also advised them to enrol their children in some type of activity.

“You may recognise that even after school the children will gather in these mall areas and have nothing to do.

"Find some kind of thing to enrol your child in, whether it be a sports club or some kind of club, so that it will take up that extra time to prevent them from wandering around Scarborough. This is something that this term we are going to look at and we are going to treat with it.”

In November 2022, the management of Port Mall in Scarborough banned all students from its premises once unaccompanied by a parent or guardian.

Kirk said the police also intend to partner with schools to address violence among students.

“We are going to have our officers go in from time to time and have that conversation with the stakeholders in our schools.

“We need to take that proactive measure. So we will ask our parents, teachers, our stakeholders within our community to get involved, get on board.”

Kirk urged parents in particular to contact the police for help.

“When you see what is happening, reach out to us and we will deal with it from our level.

"But we want all people to be on board in terms of the nation’s schoolchildren. We do not want it to escalate into a situation like we are seeing in other parts of the world.”

He also reiterated his call for people to not make themselves soft targets for criminals.

Kirk referred to separate incidents recently in which two people were robbed at gunpoint while liming in a playpark and at a popular bar.

“We want to urge people, heighten your awareness when you are out. I know that we don’t want to alarm people while enjoying themselves. But whilst you do that, you have to look out because the criminals are such that they look for easy opportunities. So you have to make yourself a hard target when you are out and be vigilant.”

He also discussed a situation in which a colleague was almost robbed while walking along a street in Port of Spain on April 3.

“The guy just looked at him and said, ‘Like yuh want meh to rob yuh or wha'?’ But really and truly, he was being followed by that person. We just happened to come around the corner at the same time to pick him up in a vehicle, but the guy crossed the road and was actually waiting.

“So I am saying, in a circumstance like that, people have to be mindful of their environment and their surroundings. We have to be aware and we just want persons to change their mindset when you are traversing in the public spaces.”

Kirk said the police’s anti-crime initiatives over the Easter weekend were successful.

“I want to commend the police officers for their keen powers of observation whilst they were out. They were able to at least take a firearm off the streets.

“I want to commend the officers from the emergency response patrols who would have used their keen powers of observation to detect that crime and the perpetrator.”

He said a 22 year-old man is now in custody.


"Tobago cops crack down on loitering students"

More in this section