‘Don’t take law into your own hands!’

Weapons police say they found in schools.

RSLPF PRO Trevor Constantine calls on parents to help the police by policing their own children.

The shocking photo (on page 5) consists of the large number of weapons found and confiscated from secondary students during the present school term and others collected between 2010 and 2011. In some cases discoveries were made on school compounds and in others, incidences where police intercepted and searched students walking through the streets before and after school.
“It is out of hand,” police press relations officer Trevor Constantine told the STAR. “It’s a major concern for us now. It’s scary and frightening as well with students going either to or from school arming themselves with what you see, from machetes and ice picks to knives and guns.”
Police units like Patrol and Probation and specifically the Community Relations Branch (CRB) commonly intervene with matters involving students. The CRB’s functions include going into schools to conduct lectures and searches on school compounds.
“The CRB patrols schools and conducts random searches,” the police press officer said. “During those searches all those weapons were found and other items included one spent shell, a crack pipe and a bottle of Chairman’s Reserve! I must say they’re very innovative and very skillful in the ways they conceal those weapons on their person but the police were able to recover those weapons.”
Mixed up in the finds of the police were imitation firearms that officers say are often used in robberies, and even a block of wood, fitted with sharp nails on both sides for maximum impact and injury.
“I’m making an appeal to parents to please help us,” Constantine said. “Assist the police; we can’t do everything. Search your children’s bags when they’re leaving and especially when they’re coming home from school. It’s your responsibility they’re your children. See what’s in there and you’ll be helping the police and helping society as well by doing that.”
The press officer says police are now seeing a trend of students arming themselves in order to launch what they call “retaliatory attacks.”
“Some of those students are arming themselves to seek vengeance because someone has interfered with them before. They’d arm themselves to cause some kind of injury to the person. Some are trying to protect themselves but we want to remind them that is not the way to go. You cannot afford to take the law into your own hands. Either report it to parents, teachers at school or come to the police station—we welcome them there with open arms to make their report against the person, the student or whoever may have assaulted or robbed them before. We’re urging them to come to the station to make a report. Don’t arm yourself with a weapon to take the law into your own hands. Police will investigate the matter for you. Leave the knives and cutlasses at home; go to school with your bag and school supplies.”
The police press relations officer spoke of stiffer penalties for students found with weapons and stated they would be charged depending on what they were found with and the nature of their offence.
“Having in your possession weapons like that is an offence stipulated very clearly in the criminal code of St Lucia,” he said. “In the future we will be charging students if they’re found with weapons in their possession and they will be taken to court to answer those charges. “Their parents will be called in if they’re underaged and they will be charged in the presence of their parents and taken to court,” Constantine said. “What happens after that is up to the discretion of the magistrate. Either fine them, Caution, Reprimand, or Discharge (CRD) them, it depends on the level of discretion used. Our duty is to bring whoever it is before the courts.”

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