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SCHOOLS AND POLICE TO TACKLE TRUANCY AND BAD BEHAVIOUR - MORRIS

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Education and skills secretary Estelle Morris today announced new guidelines to help schools build links with local...
Education and skills secretary Estelle Morris today announced new guidelines to help schools build links with local police forces. The new School Police Protocol, issued to all schools, gives advice on how to develop effective relationships with the police.

Head teachers in schools facing the toughest challenges will also be given the opportunity to have a police officer based in and around school. The new Safer Schools Partnerships will help to address the high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour committed in and around schools in some areas by and against young people.

By autumn up to 100 extra officers will be based in schools in the ten crime areas identified by the government.

Officers will work in partnership with schools, local education authorities, governors and other partners to:

- reduce truancy and exclusions

- reduce victimisation, criminality and anti-social behaviour within the school and its community

- identify and work with children and young people at risk of becoming victims or offenders

- ensure the full time education of young offenders

- support school staff in dealing with incidents of crime, victimisation or anti-social behaviour

- support vulnerable children and young people through periods of transition

- promote the full participation of all children and young people in the life of the school and its wider community

Speaking at the Tackling it Together - Truancy and Crime Conference yesterday, Ms Morris said:

'Children need to be in school and learning. Every day 50,000 children are out of school without good reason and the consequences of missing school are clearer than ever. Research shows that these children are easily drawn into crime and anti-social behaviour and are more likely to be unemployed after leaving school.

'Police have a valuable role to play in local neighbourhoods and in the drive to tackle bad behaviour and crime in schools. They can provide teachers with the back-up to deal with persistent truants and enhance the learning environment by providing a safe and secure school community.

'The police have been working effectively in schools for many years and I want to offer headteachers facing the toughest challenges the chance to develop a closer working relationship with the police and possibly have a police officer based in school. I also want to encourage all schools to look at how they work in conjunction with the police and other key partners. I hope that the new Police Protocol will help schools to do this.

Home secretary David Blunkett said:

'Police and schools, working together, are crucial to keeping children in education, off the streets and away from a life of crime. That is why the cross-government action group tackling street crime has been so important - bringing together everyone involved to find solutions. But it is not just down to government, the police and schools. Parents and all of us in the wider community mustalso take responsibility for nipping bad behaviour in the bud.'

NOTES

This Press Notice applies to England.

1.The Police in School Protocol has been developed jointly by a working group comprising representatives from the DfES, police, local education authorities, the Youth Justice Board and head teachers. It will be issued to all local education authorities, police forces and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships

2.The Ten Force Street Crime Initiative covers the following forces:

- Avon and Somerset

- Greater Manchester

- Lancashire

- Merseyside

- Metropolitan Police

- Nottinghamshire

- South Yorkshire

- Thames Valley

- West Midlands

- West Yorkshire

3.Support for the Safer School Partnerships will be targeted initially in 30-40 LEAs schools facing the toughest challenges. Funding will be provided from the£66m package announced on 25th April 2002. In addition guidance and training will be provided for those involved.

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