Police urge families to look after children

The Ministry of Police, Prisons and Correction Services has appealed to parents and families to look after their children to avoid instances of them going missing.

Last week the Police advised the public that a 9-year-old male of Moataa village who went missing, Faaleaga Raider Toelepai, was located and reunited with his family.

However, the Deputy Police Commissioner, Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti in an emailed response to the Samoa Observer, said they are getting a lot of reports on missing children but most times it is due to the youngster not informing their family members where they are.

“Matters like this always blame the parents and their families for not reporting to us [Police] when they are notified of any missing persons within their families,” said Papalii.

“We have come across other issues causing this like the young aged ones that mostly are searched are not informing their parents that they have slept over at their friends house, those kinds of issues lead to finding a ‘missing person’.”

Papalii nevertheless said she appreciates the support given by the community to find those who were reported missing.

“We strongly advised the public [parents and families] to please remember the safety of the children and the Ministry still received reports from families on their missing persons, we step in to assist (with) our help.”

The use of social media by school-aged students is also a cause for concern for the Police according to Papalii, who reiterated that the Police are aware of schools that ban their students from using electronic devices that could give them access to social media platforms.

“It is very important for parents to have a sit-down talk session or a proper conversation with their children on how to use social media,” she told this newspaper. 

“Social media can be very useful for school-work as we all know the good impact from it but teaching them from a young age can lead them to a brighter future.”

In previous years, the Ministry got up to 30 missing persons reports with some families opting to post on social media, instead of reporting to the Police. 

But Papalii urged families to report immediately to the Police when any of their family members go missing. 

“It’s everyone’s job [community] to assist in matters like this, but it all starts from within families so we do hope there will be no more missing persons reporting in days ahead,” she added.

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