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CoP says TTPS needs help to fix runaway children issue

“The Po­lice Ser­vice, we have our Vic­tim Sup­port of­fi­cers and our so­cial work­ers with­in the Po­lice Ser­vice, but it is re­al­ly too much for them. So now, we are link­ing with the oth­er agen­cies so they can go in and do some work with the fam­i­lies be­cause why would a child be con­stant­ly run­ning away from home?” Ja­cob asked

Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Mc­Don­ald Ja­cob says the po­lice alone can­not deal with the is­sue of mi­nors who run away from their homes. In fact, he says oth­er agen­cies al­so have crit­i­cal roles to play in rec­ti­fy­ing some of the is­sues they en­counter af­ter re­cov­er­ing chil­dren from cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.

YV3191

His com­ment came yes­ter­day, a day af­ter the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice’s An­ti Kid­nap­ping Unit re­vealed they had re­ceived re­ports of 154 miss­ing mi­nors since the year be­gan.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

Ad­dress­ing this af­ter a meet­ing with San­gre Grande Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cials yes­ter­day, Ja­cob not­ed that many of the miss­ing mi­nors ran away from their homes sev­er­al times

“We will see that some per­sons may run away three times per year, four times a year,” Ja­cob said

“They ac­tu­al­ly car­ry up the num­bers, which might ap­pear to some that there is some­thing sig­nif­i­cant hap­pen­ing in Trinidad. Some peo­ple may as­cribe it to hu­man traf­fick­ing. But when the analy­sis is done, you re­alise that some­times it’s the same set of young per­sons who are con­stant­ly run­ning away.”

Ja­cob point­ed out that the TTPS records each miss­ing per­son re­port in­di­vid­u­al­ly, so even if one per­son runs away mul­ti­ple times, each re­port is count­ed as a new one

How­ev­er, he thanked the Crime and Prob­lem Analy­sis Branch for do­ing the ac­tu­al col­lec­tion and coali­tion of that type of in­for­ma­tion

He not­ed that this helped them to as­sess the sever­i­ty of the prob­lems which were af­fect­ing mi­nors in their homes, which of­ten came out when of­fi­cers in­ter­viewed them af­ter they were re­turned to their fam­i­lies safe­ly

Still, he ad­mit­ted some of the is­sues were be­yond what they could of­fer

“In our in­ter­views where they re­turn, if we iden­ti­fy of­fences, we nor­mal­ly will do what is re­quired, if it’s to take them out of the home and if we have to charge per­sons. How­ev­er, there are some prob­lems ex­ist­ing in the home, which does not nec­es­sar­i­ly amount to crim­i­nal of­fences that re­quire a dif­fer­ent sort of so­cial work. So that is rea­son why we are en­gag­ing the oth­er agen­cies to as­sist us to deal with this prob­lem,” Ja­cob said

Speak­ing at the TTPS press brief­ing on Thurs­day, Asst Supt Dar­ryl Ram­dass said 142 of the mi­nors re­port­ed miss­ing had been re­turned to their homes, while ten per­sons, or ten per cent, are still un­ac­count­ed for.

He said some of the is­sues giv­en by the chil­dren who run away in­clud­ed par­ents dis­ci­plin­ing them, sex­u­al groom­ing by adult and fam­i­ly is­sues

Yes­ter­day, Ja­cob said they were lean­ing more on oth­er state agen­cies as well, in­clud­ing so­cial ser­vices, ad­mit­ting the is­sue could over­whelm the TTPS re­sources.

“The Po­lice Ser­vice, we have our Vic­tim Sup­port of­fi­cers and our so­cial work­ers with­in the Po­lice Ser­vice, but it is re­al­ly too much for them. So now, we are link­ing with the oth­er agen­cies so they can go in and do some work with the fam­i­lies be­cause why would a child be con­stant­ly run­ning away from home?” Ja­cob asked