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Oct 18, 2004

Curfew back for city children

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It’s been tried before and, as of Friday night, the measure has made a reappearance. I’m talking about a curfew for children. Jacqueline Woods has an update.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Tonight at eight, any child thirteen years and under found on the streets will be picked up and taken back to their homes or held until a parent or guardian can be located. According to Police Press Officer G. Michael Reid, the curfew is a joint effort by the police and Human Development Department.

G. Michael Reid, Police Press Officer

?Its been on the table for awhile, but certainly we have been getting a lot of complains and concerns from the public at large and we think that they are far too many children out in the streets late at night and unsupervised.?

But just how effective can the curfew be? One criticism is that the decision was only a knee jerk reaction to recent incidents and is more about politic than crime fighting.

G. Michael Reid

?Well there will be criticism. There is always criticism when something is tried. But we have to try; we have to do something. We don?t? have all the answers, but the best we can do is make an effort to see what we can do to stop the children from being out there late at night and we asking the parents to get involved; to do their share.?

The curfew will run seven days a week from 8p.m. to 6a.m.

G. Michael Reid

?The Police and the Human Development Department will be jointly patrolling the streets and any child in particular under thirteen years of age who is unsupervised and is just out there in the street, will be picked up. If we can?t then the children will be held with the Department of Human Development.?

Jacqueline Woods

?Why this specific age group of children when the incidents that have been occurring involved children who are thirteen years and older??

G. Michael Reid

?We need to attack this at the root and get the children that are unaffected and who are in danger. We do know that the age of children legal is eighteen and the curfew can affect these. If we see people who are above the age of thirteen and we feel that they need to be addressed, those people will also be picked up and spoken to.?

Over the weekend seventeen children in Belize City were picked up and returned to their families. Reid says they will try to have the curfew run as long as is necessary.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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