The Nyanga police and its Community Policing Forum (CPF) are making it easier to educate young people and intervene before they get into trouble.
The two are quietly working in the area’s schools to engage children in proactive programmes to reduce and prevent crime in their community.
On Thursday October 10, the police took the 40 young people from four different schools on an outing to Bredasdorp Nature Conservation Resort.
Leading the pack was Constable Marelda Abrahams who said there was a need to address the serious issue of youth access to drugs and alcohol in all the areas.
She said as police and the CPF they were busy building relationships with the kids and that through the programmes, they sought to help kids build on their life purposes, make positive choices and develop leadership skills.
“We have 40 boys who are described as being at risk. We took those who are 12 to 16 years of age. If you look thoroughly, these are on the verge of doing wrong things in life. These are on the verge of smoking, (getting involved in) substance abuse and other ills.
“We thought, before they get to criminality, let us engage them in many issues. Let us have programmes that seek to empower them. That is why we are taking a bunch to a camp out of Cape Town,” she said.
She added that the targeted age groups also learned about the importance of belonging and how they could contribute to a safe and caring community and school.
“We are building leaders here. We teach them conflict resolution, anger management and to face their fears.
“That is why we have all kinds of experts to be with them on the camp. We want them to know themselves and focus more on their future and be able to make Nyanga a better place to live, play and work,” she said.
Carrying blankets, big bags and pillows, the boys all agreed to behave on the trip before saying a prayer and then boarding the bus.
CPF chairperson Buyisile Makasi appealed to them to represent Nyanga in a good way and to be good ambassadors not only at the camp but also when they are back in the areas. Mr Makasi said it was their time to make Nyanga a better place.
“We want a crime-free Nyanga. The future of Nyanga belongs to them not us now. We played our bit; it is for them now to play theirs. We need a better Nyanga, We need a better life for all in Nyanga. We are doing all this for them to lead us to great things,” he said.
Parent Nomzi Vuba was ecstatic to know that the children were being taken on a trip by police. Ms Vuba who was just passing when she saw a group of children boarding a police bus, wished the police a long life.
“It is my first time seeing such good work involving police and children. May these police live long for helping parents and the community for their children. Our children are really getting out of hand,” she said.