Jordan youth and police set sights on tackling cybercrime and online bullying

3 June 2021

AMMAN: Jordan’s Public Security Directorate Thursday completed the first phase of a new initiative that will see Community Police work hand-in-hand with young people across the kingdom to tackle online safety, cyber bullying and other pressing issues like drug awareness.

Over 600 young people from 24 governmental schools took part in the first stage of the PSD’s “Conscious Student” initiative, which sets a new model for Community Police and youth to work together in addressing local safety issues.

Conscious Student’s focus on cybercrime is particularly timely. Over a third of Amman residents are “concerned” or “very concerned” about their safety online, according to a survey carried out last year by Siren. According to the Jordanian National Committee for Women’s Affairs, 80% of women have experienced online harassment.

The initiative, which is under the overall theme of good citizenship, targets school pupils aged 15 to 18. It was initially delivered to students in Amman, Mafraq, Madaba and Russeifa, and will later be rolled-out in other parts of the country.

A team of six experienced Community Police trainers led the training, holding a total of eight sessions each day. In a practical demonstration of how young people and Community Police can work together, the first round of the initiative was co-delivered by four young people who were previously trained by the Community Police through the PSD’s parallel “Conscious Youth” initiative.

The police trainers also actively coordinated with colleagues from other PSD departments, with officers from the Drug Squad, Cybercrime Unit and Media Department providing specialised interventions on online safety, cyber bullying and drug awareness.

“Youth aged between 15 and 18 are on the cusp of joining society more widely … so the initiative seeks to raise awareness among this age group about a number of important topics,” said Lt. Col Hussein Massaid, head of Community Police in Jordan. “What distinguishes this initiative is that we have targeted 600 students, which means 600 families also had the opportunity to participate and benefit, as it was conducted on Zoom … but we won’t stop here.”

Positive feedback has already begun to flow-in following the first three weeks of the initiative.

“I learnt how to protect myself online and about my duties as a student,” said Raghab Mashakbeh, a 10th grade student at the Ameera Iman School in Central Amman. “If I see a crime online, I won’t stay silent. I know that I can go to the police and that they will take action.”

“As mother and a teacher, the initiative was a success,” said Raghab’s mother, Tamam. “My daughter developed greater confidence in herself and in her ability to engage in debate … With us being in times of corona and everything being online, she now has the courage to communicate through social media.”

Conscious Student is designed and co-ordinated by the PSD Community Police in partnership with Siren Associates. The initiative is part of the wider “Shoulder to Shoulder” project, funded by the Dutch Government, which aims to improve the delivery of community safety services in vulnerable host communities.