Morris wants the police in schools

2 May 02
Schools in England's most crime-ridden areas are being offered their own personal police officers as part of the government's latest initiative to cut down on truancy and anti-social behaviour.

03 May 2002

The announcement, by Education Secretary Estelle Morris on April 30, saw the government focus its attention on tackling street crime just days before the local elections.

Under the proposals, schools in up to 40 local education authorities with the worst truancy records will be offered uniformed officers to patrol schools and classrooms.

They will also be expected to work in partnership with teachers, parents and governors to 'reduce victimisation, criminality and anti-social behaviour within the school.'

'Every day 50,000 children are out of school without good reason,' said Morris. 'Official figures show that 40% of street robberies and 25% of burglaries are carried out by 10- to 16-year-olds in school hours. They [the police] can provide teachers with the back-up to deal with persistent truants.'

But ministers have yet to decide which schools will benefit from the scheme, according to the Department for Education and Skills, or exactly how many local education authorities will be involved.

Ten police forces that will participate were announced, including Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Nottinghamshire and the Metropolitan Police.

The pilots are due to come into being in September and, if successful, will be rolled out nationally.

The scheme will be funded through a £66m package announced on April 25 which also covers a plethora of initiatives, such as learning support units and summer schools.

The Local Government Association, the representative body for local education authorities, said it had not been consulted over the policy, despite up to 40 LEAs being involved.

The National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers welcomed the plan. 'Putting police officers into schools is highly regrettable, but in some circumstances, entirely necessary,' said general secretary Eamonn O'Kane.


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