PRESENCE of community police will be stepped up across all school districts in the country as thousands of students return for the new academic year in public schools on Sunday.
An awareness campaign will also be launched to ensure the safety of children being transported on school buses.
Details of the campaign and other safety preparations for the 2018-2019 school year, and specifically in the populated Northern Governorate, were discussed yesterday during the Interior Ministry’s Al Amn (Security) radio show.
“There will be a heavier community police presence at schools starting from Sunday to ensure children’s safety en route to school as well as while they enter and exit the school campus,” said Northern Governorate Community Police head Captain Mohammed Al Alawi.
“An awareness campaign will also be launched in regards to the dangers of forgetting students in school buses.
“This campaign aims to ensure the children who ride the buses are safe while also ensuring heightened awareness among bus drivers.
“We have heard in previous years about children who died because they were forgotten inside the bus.
“We launched this campaign successfully last year and it targeted around 177 bus drivers, 41 schools and 1,650 students including 16 nurseries.”
Captain Al Alawi said the campaign will mainly target primary schools in the Northern Governorate, while community police will also be deployed to more than 40 intermediate and secondary schools.
“The most important group to target is primary school students while looking into the surrounding circumstances of intermediate and secondary schools such as their location and if they are on a public road which could pose a danger to students,” he added.
“Schools were inspected to ensure they are safe and security deficiencies were rectified, while also inspecting a school’s location in relation to the students’ safety.
“Our main focus, however, is primary school students as they’re young children and have no experience.”
A 24-hour hotline, 17797340, has also been launched to report complaints or violations at school districts in the Northern Governorate.
Meanwhile, community policemen have been authorised to impose fines on traffic violators and refer them to the Traffic Directorate.
Southern Governorate security directorate director general Hamad Bin Howail said community policemen will issue tickets for improper parking, wrong entry and hindering traffic.
“The community police patrols will be present alongside other security officers near schools as they reopen for the new academic year,” he said.
The Traffic Directorate said it will also increase patrols of policewomen on main junctions and school districts with heavy traffic movement, while also ensuring female security guards are equipped to safeguard children entering and leaving the school campus in collaboration with the Education Ministry.
“We are also ensuring that bus drivers in charge of transporting students have installed rear-view cameras and sensors on their vehicles to increase safety of students,” added Traffic Directorate awareness director First Lieutenant Khulood Yahya.
In October 2015, the GDN reported that a five-year-old boy was rescued two hours after being stuck in a school bus after he fell asleep in the back of the vehicle.
The driver, a Bahraini woman, did not see him when she took a group of children to a kindergarten in Muharraq.
In a previous incident on September 19, 2013 Rashed Fadhel Buzuhaira, aged 5, died when he was locked inside a school bus for three and a half hours, as temperatures reached 40C.