Students were encouraged to??stay away from a life of lawlessness, violence??and quick money. (FP)

Assault tops the list of crimes committed by juveniles, followed by wandering, theft and drugs.

These were among the statistics outlined by Senior Superintendent of Police, (Southern Division) Eucklyn Thompson, as he addressed students at the start of the In the Winners’ Circle programme at the Christ Church Parish Church Centre today.

Addressing Class 4 students of the Milton Lynch and St. Lawrence Primary Schools, Mr. Thompson said there were 103 criminal cases against juveniles in 2008; 89 in 2009; 82 in 2010; 83 in 2011 and 96 in 2012.

Of those, there were 30 cases of assault by juveniles in 2008; 21 in 2009; 19 in 2010; 24 in 2011 and 29 in 2012, while cases of wandering involved 11 children in 2008; 21 in 2009; 11 in 2010; two in 2011 and 10 in 2012.

However, the senior lawman cautioned young people about to enter secondary school, that those cases were as a result of bad choices and urged them not to make similar mistakes.

Mr. Thompson said the programme under the theme: In the Winners’ Circle: Making the Right Choice, sought to give students information that would help them make the right decisions. "This is important as time and time again we have seen youngsters with great potential yielding to negative influences, thus veering off the path on which success was guaranteed," he noted.

Those who veer off, he added, allowed themselves to be influenced to the point that they no longer had visionary objectives and goals that would redound to their long term benefit.

"Everything about that decision you are about to make – your head, your heart, your mind – tells you that you will end up on the wrong side of the road. Yet, you allow persons with less skills, training and understanding to influence you," he lamented.

Mr. Thompson warned that such a lifestyle would allow students to become attracted to the fast lane, one which had a "production line of lawlessness, violence, quick money and ultimately a life of crime, or one which inhibits your potential to make use of your God-given talents and abilities".

In such cases, he pointed out that it was a situation of the child simply making a bad choice. "Poor choices result in bad judgments; bad judgments result in bad habits; bad habits result in wasted opportunities; wasted opportunities result in a life that settles for mediocrity and things that give no lasting happiness," he warned.

The Police Superintendent told the students it was, therefore, important to see themselves as the future leaders of society, whether it be in politics, in medicine, the legal profession, religion, agriculture, tourism or other industrious areas of endeavour. "There will always be persons retiring. Thus you will need to be in line to fill any vacancy suitable to your area of training," he pointed out.

The lawman advised students to use the knowledge gained from their teachers, parents and guardians in the recent examination to achieve a level of satisfaction and excellence. "I urge you to aim for excellence as you transfer to your new school where higher learning, including the introduction of new subjects, will take place.

"…Whatever the result [of the examination] you must realise that there is a purpose for which you were born and for which you ought to strive to fulfill. It may not be in the field of academics but it could be in another wholesome field of endeavour which will not detract from your quest to become a person of good standing in society," he told his captive audience.

Offering words of advice for the future, Mr. Thompson said: "…Avoid coveting property belonging to others; gossip; disobeying instructions at home and at school; bullying; lateness; cheating; stealing; hatred; malice; unforgiveness; having weapons on your person to use against others; [and] cursing."

Instead, Mr. Thompson urged them to practise such attributes as love; helpfulness; obedience to teachers and parents; punctuality; honesty; forgiveness; sharing; caring; forming wholesome friendships, and working in teams, especially to assist slow learning classmates.

"If the latter category of attributes are truly embraced and practised, there would be no need for police intervention at school, on the streets, on the buses or in your neighbourhoods," he contended.


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