Over 400 students from different universities and secondary schools across Kigali yesterday gathered at Amahoro National Stadium to take part in a new Rwanda National Police (RNP) initiative seeking to actively engage students in policing and crime prevention.
The drive dubbed ‘Youth in Policing: Each Voice Counts’ was unveiled by the Commissioner for Operations in RNP, Commissioner of Police (CP) Emmanuel Butera.
It complements the existing initiatives geared towards crime prevention with focus on enlightening the youth on their role in policing programmes.
CP Butera reminded the students that they “owe their country safety” and urged them to commit to preserving security of Rwandans.
“To preserve the safety and security Rwanda and the citizenry enjoy today, it requires you to be part and own community policing initiatives,” CP Butera, adding that Rwanda was liberated and rebuilt by youth.
“It’s time for you to carry on this legacy. We believe in you; we believe there is nothing you can fail to achieve if you are committed to it. That’s why we are bringing you on board as partners in crime prevention because we understand well how impactful you can be if you are committed to it,” he said.
He highlighted gender based violence, drug abuse and trafficking, human trafficking, child abuse, radicalism and terrorism among high impact crimes that require each one’s attention, partnership and response.
Although a lot had to be sacrificed to bring Rwanda to what it is today, he noted, a lot more needs to be sacrificed to ensure sustainable security.
“Security of your country starts with you as an individual; if you are safe, then commit yourself to ensuring the safety of your neighbour, friend and your compatriots. You can only achieve that by working closely with security organs and reporting suspicious security threats,” CP Butera said.
On radicalisation, Butera said such practices should not be confused with Islam religion, urging the students to distance and report anyone that attempts to lure them into extremism.
The National Coordinator of Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing, Justus Kangwagye spoke at length on ‘engaging youth in building a safer community’ pointing out that “security is as important as the oxygen we breathe.”
“It is our ultimate goal to join hands as youth and preserve our security, and this is no longer the duty of uniformed men and women; it requires every responsible citizen and youth in particular to be potential partners in safeguarding it,” Kangwagye said.
He further reminded them that preventing crime equally lies in their hands through instant information sharing.
“Effects of insecurity affect everyone indiscriminately, this means it should be a concern of everyone as well,” Kangwagye said.
One of the students, Aline Giramata from University of Rwanda- College of Business and Economics, said: “We are the future of our nation - this country is where it is because some youth chose to shape it this way. As the generation that is being prepared to carry on the legacy, we have to always remind ourselves that we have the ability to even achieve more.”