New training course for police to support minors' rights
Strengthening Police Officers Capacities in Dealing with Minors in Conflict with the Law

Maputo, 11 March 2009. 11-12-13 March 2009 - UNICRI, organized a training course for police patrol officers in the area of rights of minors in conflict with the law.
The training course was organized within the framework of the Programme “Strengthening Juvenile Justice in Mozambique,” which started in 2005 with the generous funding of the Italian Cooperation to improve life conditions of the juvenile population, focusing specifically on minors at risk or in conflict with the law.

In particular, the objective of the training course was to strengthen the capacities of those who patrol daily the streets of Maputo and who are in fact the first contact of minors at risk and in conflict with the law. The training was aimed at 100 patrol officers and resident police officers, including new elements of the Gabinetes de atendimento à Mulher e Criança. The training offered guidelines for police officers’ delicate task of dealing with minors by giving trainees an overview of the real difficulties that children encounter when they come into contact with the police, their rights, the new legislative package that the Government of Mozambique passed concerning the protection of children as well as retracing the path of a potential minor in conflict with law, from the squad to a possible custody in a Juvenile Rehabilitation Center.

During the opening of the training, on 11 March at 8.00 am, personalities such as His Excellency the Vice Minister of the Interior of Mozambique, Mr. Jose Mandra as well as His Excellency the Ambassador of Italy, Mr. Carlo Lo Cascio have been present to give their regards to the event.

Trainees were trained by governmental staff of the justice sector as well as UN officers and psychologists in order to achieve a comprehensive overview on properly managing all of the different facets of dealing with a minor. This includes legal frameworks, psychological and social aspects, as well as case studies and role-playing to better understand the phenomenon of minors in conflict with the law.

Police officers received information on the new legislative package regarding minors’ protection as well as different methods of intervention to care for children, strategic policies of the social welfare, information about the role of the police and a detailed explication on how to compile the datasheet of minors attended by the police to be inserted on the database. This database was set up by UNICRI to collect information on the statistical phenomenon of juvenile diversion.  Moreover, the training included the psychological and social aspects of juvenile deviation, the area of community psychology and methods of intervention with minors. The training programme also provided a simulation where trainees played the different positive and negative attitudes of a potential patrol officer attending a minor, swapping then their respective roles as police/minor.

Strengthening the capacities of the police is really essential in order to spread the culture on the protection of minors by applying not only the principles of the law, but also by improving the effectiveness of prevention while dealing with difficult situations of minors in conflict with the law or at risk. It is foremost important that all minors are treated fairly and that they are given the opportunity and guidance to take responsibility for their mistakes so as to receive another chance in the future so they can become responsible adults and respectful citizens.

From left: General Commander of the Police, Mr. Jorge da Costa Kh�lau His Excellency the Ambassador of Italy, Mr. Carlo Lo Cascio, His Excellency Vice- Minister of Interior, Mr. Jos� Mateus Mandra Head of the Dept. of Women and Children of the Police, Ms. Lurdes Mabunda, UNICRI Programme Coordinator, Ms. Andrea Rachele Fiore.

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