Over 400 students from different universities and secondary schools across Kigali gathered at Amahoro National Stadium on September 30 to take part in a new Rwanda National Police (RNP) initiative that seeks to actively engage students in policing and crime prevention in particular.
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 and focuses 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 ensuring that the security Rwandans enjoy is preserved.
“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, radicalization and terrorism as high impact crimes that requires 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 fellow countrymen and women. You can only achieve that by working close with security organs and reporting anything that you assume may be a security threat,” CP Butera said.
With regard to radicalisation, CP Butera said that such practices should not be confused with the Islam religion and urged them to distance and report anyone that attempts to lure them into extremism practices.
The National Coordinator of Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing, Justus Kangwagye also gave a lengthy lecture on ‘engaging youth in building a safer community’ where he pointed 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 a 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 (CBE), 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.”