OSCE Office promotes community policing in Armenian schools

Four days of activities organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan and the Armenian police as part of its ‘Safe School’ initiative concluded today in Yerevan.

The activities, held in schools 189 and 130 in the Arabkir and Mashtots districts of Yerevan, were aimed at addressing security problems in schools, such as drugs and smoking, road safety, cases of violence and enhancing co-operation between the police and the local community. This is a follow-up from an OSCE-supported study visit to the Netherlands in April for a group of Armenian police officers to learn about the Dutch experience of police-school partnership.

“Community policing means close co-operation between the police and local people, identifying problems and areas of concern, finding effective solutions to community problems and rendering quality policing services. Raising awareness among the younger generation about this new policing method will help them understand the positive changes that it can bring to society,” said Lilian Salaru, Politico-Military Programme Officer of the OSCE Office in Yerevan

The events included meetings between district community policing officers, school students, faculty and parents as well as presentations on the community policing concept. Prior to the initiative, a survey was conducted among students to identify their most pressing security concerns. Its results were presented and discussed in school meetings.

Nico van Ooik, a community policing expert from the Netherlands, said: “It is important for community policing officers to influence citizens and co-operate on security issues. This is a good preventive mechanism especially for the younger generation so that they do not get involved in unsocial behaviour such as drug and alcohol abuse.”

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