Interior ministry delegating problem youth handing amid crisis to regions ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Interior ministry building on Pikk Street in Tallinn's Old Town.
Interior ministry building on Pikk Street in Tallinn's Old Town. Source: Google Maps

The Estonian interior ministry is seeking to share the burden of youth unruliness between it and local government, citing a rise in issues during the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as an over-taxed police force.

Problems related to the disappearance of minors with problems have become significantly more frequent since the start of the emergency situation, which began on March 12, BNS reports.

The ministry noted one 14-year-old boy who has absconded from a care home at least 11 times, with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) being notified that number of times, during the emergency situation.

The numbers of calls to the police related to minors have increased from 87 calls to 206 calls per week, over a three-week period, BNS reports, with the largest increase in violations being those against the so-called "2 + 2 rule", meaning no more than two people to assemble in public, and maintaining a minimum two-meter distance from others when out in public, as well as drunk and disorderly infringements, according to BNS. Minors have also been congregating in public playgrounds and similar facilities, which have been closed for several weeks now as part of the emergency situation restrictions.

Schools are also closed, with schoolwork being conducted online, most of it not in real time with only a small proportion requiring all students to be online all at the same time for the same task.

Since most of these cases had been in care homes, the ministry says it is critical to have better systems to ensure minors stay at home during the pandemic, as well as further measures pursued to check their whereabouts more thoroughly, ahead of calling the PPA.

The ministry aims for greater local-level control as well as better options on how to legitimately spend leisure time, BNS reports, particularly with the spring break which starts Monday. More thought is needed on where to place those who might be at risk of absconding from quarantine,, if they have been so-placed due to being diagnosed with the virus, but who do not require hospitalization. This also includes adults.

No more concrete measures on how local authorities might accomplish this were reported.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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