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GOVERNMENT PLANS PLEDGE POLICE PRESENCE TO THE SCHOOL PLAYGROUND

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The government has announced a crackdown on anti-social behaviour with plans for police in schools and docking bene...
The government has announced a crackdown on anti-social behaviour with plans for police in schools and docking benefits from unruly tenants.

In what was condemned by the opposition as a pre-local election attempt to push its image as a party of law and order, ministers gave notice of the crack down ahead of yesterday's vote.

Education secretary Estelle Morris outlined proposals for officers to be stationed in up to 70 secondary and 40 primary schools with the worst truancy problems.

She stressed the scheme was voluntary and 'more prevention than cure' with most schools being well-ordered.

Under her plan, police forces will pick up the bill for their officers while the Department for Education & Skills will pay the estimated£10m a year cost of providing specialist support.

Around 100 specially trained staff will be deployed across education departments where schools have full-time police officers to liaise between chief inspectors and heads, cutting the amount of red tape for both.

'It will be voluntary and it is for heads to make the decision,' Ms Morris said.

Every education department in England will be sent a copy of a new police and schools protocol, setting out how heads and police chiefs can work together.

Meanwhile, it emerged the government is to give qualified support to proposals to dock housing benefit from so-called 'neighbours from hell'.

The objectives of Labour MP for Birkenhead Frank Field's private members bill were backed by social security secretary Alastair Darling, though he said more work was needed.

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