Salima Police Station officer-in-charge Thandiwe Mwalwenje has bemoaned children’s involvement in criminal activities.
She expressed the sentiments on Wednesday during a cell visit organised by the Paralegal Advisory Service Institute under the Chilungamo-Access to Justice Project funded by UNDP and European Union.
Mwalwenje said every week, they arrest one or two children for criminal offences.
“The major crimes committed by the children are theft and burglaries,” she said.
Of interest was the case of a 15-year-old boy (name concealed to protect his identity) who keeps getting arrested for theft and escapes every time he is sent to Mpemba Reformatory Centre.
Salima first grade magistrate Anthony Banda said in an interview that he has now referred the boy’s matter, who risks mob justice, to the High Court.
He said: “This young man has been sent to Mpemba Reformatory Centre several times, but he always escapes.
“When he gets rearrested and taken back there, he runs away again. And now people in Salima are planning mob justice once they find him.”
Banda said Mpemba Reformatory Centre is refusing to accommodate him again.
The boy, who dropped out in Standard Five, said people accuse him of things he did not do, adding that he escapes from Mpemba because he does not want to go back to school.
“I cannot do well in school, but in Mpemba they force us into school. I would do better with vocational skills,” he said.
Salima District social welfare officer Alexious Makatha agreed with Mwalwenje that a week hardly passes without police arresting children.