NGO orients police officers on diversion of young offenders

Anita Tiggelaar

Byo-unique Trust on Tuesday conducted a meeting with police officers at Mangochi Police Station aimed at orienting the officers on diversion of young offenders.

Speaking at the meeting, Anita Tiggelaar who is the organisation’s Programs Manager based in Zomba explained the roles and responsibilities of their organization which focuses on offenders aged 10 to 18 years.

Among others, the organization reaches out to children in primary and secondary schools mainly on crime prevention, behaviour change, rehabilitation programs as well as mediation between the child and the family.

Tiggelaar encouraged the officers to practice diversion as it frees up Police time and create efficient case management, lessens the file burden on the courts and also helps to reduce overcrowding prisons.

Anita Tiggelaar
Anita Tiggelaar (C) speaking at the meeting.

“Anyone can make a mistake and everyone deserves a second chance, especially children who do not understand their offence and the impact it can have on people,” added Tiggelaar.

She also outlined that diversion can only be considered if the child has committed a misdemeanour and not a felony but if the young offender has previously been diverted for a similar offence then should not be considered again. She said that diversion can be initiated by Police, courts and also the social welfare office.

In his remarks, lnspector Anthony Sanane who was speaking on behalf of officers at Mangochi Police Station commended the Byo-unique   Trust for the initiative as the officers have learnt a lot and he promised to work hand in hand with the organization to help the young offenders.

The meeting was attended by both senior and junior police officers.