Police have cleared the police records of 1,023 young persons who were arrested for various criminal offenses, as part of police work to provide job opportunities for young people.
In a statement issued today the police said Commissioner Hussain Waheed had urged all young persons to make the best out of this “golden opportunity” and to leave the crime environment and become useful people to society.
Police reported that they had cleared the criminal records of 564 cases where young people were involved.
Furthermore, the police statement noted that they were trying to conclude the investigations into at least 80 percent of the cases submitted to police before the first 100 day of the new government ends.
A lack of jobs was cited as one of the major reasons for young people to join gangs in a 2012 report made by Dr Aishath Ali Naaz for the Asia Foundation.
The report, which collected data through 20 focus groups and 24 in-depth interviews with gang members, highlighted problems with the legal process, which produces a criminal record – which cannot be cleared for five years –even for minor offences.
“Due to police record, we can’t get a government job,” said one interviewee. “When government does this, the private sector usually does the same.”
“Hence it’s hard to get a job if a person has a police record…so join a gang to earn money,” a gang member interviewed by Dr Naaz’s team said.
Meanwhile, the day before yesterday (7 January) the Juvenile Court released the statistics from last year showing the number of convicted minors that applied to participate in the Correctional Center for Children, revealing that 21 had applied to take part in the programs and only six completed it successfully.
Escaping gang culture
In March 2010, Minivan News interviewed three gang members who spoke about the gang culture in Maldives, describing being stuck with the gangs because they could not get a job as they had criminal records which could be cleared only after five years.
The gang members told Minivan News they wanted jobs, but felt unable to get them because of the stigma attached to their police records.
One of them said he now prefers selling drugs instead of looking for a job “because it pays more”, while another said he was compelled to stay in the gang until his police record was cleared.
“In five years when my police records are cleared I will get a job,” one gang member said.
A senior gang member said his family forced him to earn money but that he was unable to get a job – again because of his police record.
“I would like to be like other people, going to work and earning money,” he said, adding that the government “must provide more job opportunities for the people.”
Earlier this month, in a speech given at the inauguration of the police organised camp “Blues for Youth” by the Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed he said that there was a crucial need to increase participation of adolescents in the work to create a responsible youth generation.
“There is no pleasure any one can reap from frequenting scenes of crimes. It is by strongly staying away from crime and being responsible that real happiness can be achieved,” Waheed said.
He assured that the police force is ever willing to be of assistance to “bring youth to the right path” and to work for youth development.
Speaking at a National Day event, the Youth Minister has also unveiled plans to find employment for all youth by the end of the coming year, 2015.