Philip Barnard, of Pimlico School in London, was appalled to discover that his pupils, who receive at least£10 to take part in the parades, were effectively being paid to play truant. He said it undermined the government's policy of seeking to reduce truancy. He said the school learnt of the parade payments after contacting parents whose children were absent without permission. They said their children had missed lessons after being asked by police to stand alongside suspects in identity parades. In at least some cases it appeared that neither parents nor the school had been asked for their consent.
Mr Barnard has complained to the police, but received no reply.
Chief Inspector Matt Saunders, of British Transport Police, said he had no knowledge of juveniles attending during school hours and insisted the rules governing identity parades were designed to stop this happening. He promised, however, to investigate if officers had 'dropped a clanger.' A police spokesman added that checks
should be carried out on the ages of those attending identity parades in case children who were under 16 but appeared older tried to take part in adult parades.