In the past four weeks truancy sweeps by police and educational welfare officers had been held in more than 230 places, mainly in urban areas, education secretary Estelle Morris revealed to MPs.
The government funded the police to work with the EWOs and more 600 children were returned directly to school.
She was replying to Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, who said truancy teams had no powers to return a child to school if he or she was in the company of a parent. She asked for a change in the law to strengthen the teams' powers.
Richard Younger-Ross, Liberal Democrat MP for Teignbridge, to study the initive launched by Devon and Cornwall Police with all the local authorities to stop truancy in the two counties.
Hansard 23 May 2002: Column 377-380