|Police encouraged to cooperate with street children|
|KARACHI: To ensure a protective environment for street children and prevent them from street victimisation, 70 police officers were trained during a session of capacity building conducted jointly by the Capital City Police Karachi and The Azad Foundation at the ADRC office of the police station on Thursday.
The purpose of the workshop was to encourage collaboration between the police, NGOs and the masses to take remedial measures for the prevention of child harassment, an issue largely overlooked and ignored in the public eye.
Citing the official statistics of Azad Foundation, Legal Officer Farah Muzzamil Ehtisham said that there are approximately 10,000 -12,000 street children in Karachi, most of which live in Saddar and Jamshed Town. She said it is essential for the police and other officers to remain in contact with these children while patrolling the areas, and help maintain coordination among service providers who are working for the rehabilitation and reintegration of these street children.
A situation analysis of Karachi conducted by The Azad Foundation further revealed the criminal record of street children. More than half of them had a criminal record. On average, approximately 3,500 street children have remained in police custody for 2-7 days. Data also showed that more than 3,000 were charged of theft, 3200 were arrested for drug addiction, and more than 2,000 claimed to be arrested without any reason.
The main purpose of the training session was to sensitize the police officials about the grim situation of street children, and to bring an understanding of what they were feeling. Street children frequently come into contact with the police either because they need protection or are in conflict with the law.
Through the workshop, the police staff was also reminded of the child friendly laws present in the constitution, and encouraged their implementation to prevent street victimization.
Also present on the occasion was Sanaullah Abbasi SSP, Additional IG, CCPK, who elaborated that such awareness raising sessions can play a vital role to curb social evils. Two further sessions will be conducted in the near future with other police officials.