Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher said parenting remains a root cause or contributory factor to violence and criminality.
Speaking at the launch of the 2023 edition of the National Parenting Programme by the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services at the Belmont Community Centre, Jerningham Avenue, on Wednesday, Harewood-Christopher said it all starts at home and complained that parents’ failings are made the responsibility of law enforcement officials.
“What we are confronted with is an unrealistic expectation that the police can somehow miraculously transform the propensity, the disposition, the behaviours of people with criminal intent. How practical a proposition is that? Policing is not a substitute to parenting,” she said.
“The police as the law enforcement agency has its very definite role of ensuring the laws are enforced and that any infractions are detected and prosecuted. That role in a conscious society will have an effect on deterring and preventing crime but there’s also a very definite and perhaps more important role to be performed by parents and guardians in the nurturing of our young people and this role requires very deliberate actions,” she added.
The Police Commissioner also noted that intolerance, disrespect and insubordination are rampant in schools, culminating in violence among students, towards teachers and security officers. She said this breakdown also occurs within homes where parents appear to be relinquishing their authority to children.
“Whether the offender survives or ends up dead, the whole of society then cries out to the police to solve the problem. By then it is too late,” she said.
She urged parents to live by example and to take their task of raising the nation’s future more seriously.
“Your children are learning from what you do. What you do and how you do it makes a difference. Teach your children respect.
Teach them to have a right sense of values. Be involved. We need adults to be involved in their child’s life. Being involved takes time and hard work and may even require a rearranging of your priorities. It frequently means sacrificing what you do for the sake and welfare of your child. When parents become an absentee, or neglect their children, they create a vacancy for someone else to fill and too often it is filled by persons of ill repute with the wrong influence,” she said.