The Pink Ladies and police officers fingerprinted children at a Kraaifontein primary school last week to compile profiles that will hopefully never be needed.
The children’s fingerprints and personal information were collected for use in the event that they go missing one day.
It was also a chance for the Pink Ladies and the police to warn the Lawrencia Primary pupils about some of the dangers they can face.
Pink Ladies director Dessie Rechner said the organisation helped families get the word out if their children went missing.=
“We perceived that police are struggling to find missing children because some parents do not have photos for their children so that they can be able to be identifiedshe said.
“So by doing fingerprinting and profiling them will make it easier for the police to find and identify them,” said Ms Rechner.
“We also give closure to the families irrespective of a person found alive or dead. But for the mere fact that the family find their person they get the closure.”
Should one of the Lawrencia Primary pupils go missing, their parents can take their profile sheet to the police station making it easier for police to take swift action.
It was vital to report a missing person immediately, Ms Rechner said.
“There is no waiting period. They don’t have to wait 24 hours before they go to the police. There is a Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit in police stations where all missing children under 18 years old can be reported to. This unit is specifically dealing with missing children,” she said.
Kraaifontein police officer Sergeant Shaneen Gertse said: “When the parents go to the police station to report (a child missing) they must have a recent photo of the child. They must know what they were wearing.”
Sergeant Gertse urged parents to be more vigilant. “Parents must always keep an eye on their children and must not leave a child with a stranger.”
School principal Enid Peters said she was concerned about the safety of her pupils.
“I want them to know that I am their mother. When they come to school they must know that they are safe.”
She said her school catered mostly for children from poor communities. “Our challenge is most of the parents are unemployed and not able to buy uniforms for children and others come to school with empty stomachs. But with the help of feeding scheme many children get assisted,” she said adding that some of the children did not have birth certificates.
Kraaiftonein victim support group co-ordinator Basetsane Maboe urged the community to work together to keep children safe.