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Kerala police forging strong bonds with students to combat drug abuse

Kochi City Police Sub Inspector Babu John interacting with students of a school in Kochi as part of the anti-drug awareness campaign.

For students of several schools in Kochi, Sub Inspector Babu John is a friendly figure. He visits the schools and interacts with students and teachers, educating them on the ill-effects of drugs and how to keep away from them. He is one among the group of police officers in Kochi who have been assigned to regularly interact with students and teachers of the schools.

These dedicated officers foster safer communities by establishing trust, open dialogue, and promoting awareness about the dangers of drug abuse among youth. By proactively engaging with students and educators, officers like Babu John create a supportive environment where concerns can be addressed and preventive measures can be implemented effectively.

Ever since the launch of the project called School Protection Group (SPG), these officers have been building relationships and establishing rapport with students and teachers through interactive sessions and informal discussions. The state police have given a new dimension to the fight against the drug menace after a core team of police officers led by State Police Chief Shaikh Darvesh Sahib, ADGP (Law and Order) M R Ajith Kumar, and ADGP (Intelligence) Manoj Abraham decided to take the fight to a new level by identifying early warning signs of drug abuse and developing intervention strategies to address emerging concerns promptly.

By winning the confidence of the people through community outreach programmes, the state police are now creating a safe and nurturing environment for all students. Currently, the SPGs are formed in schools in the state where the Student Police Cadet wing is not functioning. The SPGs are now entrusted with a slew of responsibilities that include facilitating smooth traffic near schools, collecting and passing on information about the sale of drugs, circulation of pornographic publications, tobacco products, and alcohol to the authorities concerned.

“Through frequent interaction with the students, we empower them to resist peer pressure and seek assistance if they encounter situations involving drugs or alcohol. We have covered more than 80 schools and conducted awareness classes for approximately 13,000 students. We are building a positive relationship between police and students, fostering mutual respect and trust,” said Babu John.

“We want all of our students to have an understanding of what is going on around them. No student deserves to fall into such a trap. We want our students to be vigilant and responsible citizens of tomorrow. The interactions with police officers are not only safeguarding the well-being of students but also laying the foundation for a safer and more resilient society,” said Sheela Seth, Principal of Marthoma Public School, Edachira, Kakkanad.

As part of the campaign #ChooseLife, Kerala Police and Infopark have joined hands with Open Digest to raise awareness about the dangers of substance abuse while offering support and resources for those in need. The campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and encourage positive life choices, comes at a crucial time when substance abuse issues continue to pose significant challenges in society. With its emphasis on positivity and empowerment, “#ChooseLife” seeks to inspire individuals, particularly the younger generation, to make informed decisions that lead to a drug-free life.

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