Police log 8,000 crimes at London schools in just one year. Rape, violence, drugs and possessing weapons among the offences.
The scale of crime in London schools is laid bare today by figures revealing that police were called 8,000 times in a year to reports including violence, rape, drug use and more than 400 incidents of people carrying weapons. Met police data for the 12 months to May shows 291 recorded offences of suspects with a knife on school grounds, and 21 cases of gun possession. There were 112 other reports of unspecified weapons being brought into schools. The total number of offences logged by police in both state-funded and private schools includes 37 rapes among 544 sex offences, 232 for drugs and more than 3,500 cases of violence.
Although the ages of those involved is not specified, it is understood that most are likely to have been pupils rather than parents or staff.
Sophie Linden, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, said the situation was “clearly unacceptable”.
There have been 15 fatal stabbings of teenagers in the capital this year. Today’s figures, released under freedom of information laws, come after headteachers urged the Government to step up action against youth violence to ensure schools remain centres of learning. A recent Ofsted report warned that London schools were not given enough support for knife crime.
The figures show officers were called to schools 83 times because of “racially or religiously aggravated public fear, alarm or distress”. There were also 119 “obscene publications” offences, 12 incidents of drug trafficking and 220 reports of possession of narcotics. The data shows the number of times police produced a crime report after being contacted about an alleged incident. It does not include the number of subsequent charges or convictions, and Scotland Yard said that not all 999 calls result in a crime report being made.
Crime also affects primary schools. A 10-year-old boy at White Bridge Primary School in Loughton, Essex, was suspended for six weeks after being caught with a knife. Staff were alerted by the year six pupil’s classmates. Headteacher Julie Witteridge said no one was threatened or hurt in the incident in June, but urged parents to discuss the dangers of knives with their children.
Ms Linden said: “The Mayor is working to increase the number of schools officers across the capital, to engage with pupils and drive down crime in schools.” There are 353 Safer Schools Officers and 47 Youth Engagement Officers working in London across 631 schools — up from 319 a year ago. A Met spokesman added: “We know some of the increased reporting is due to having an increased number of officers in school, better partnerships and robust police recording processes.” The Government is working on new school security guidance which is due to be published later this year.
The shocking toll: Number of offences for 12 months ending April 30 this year
Violence against the person 3,511
Sexual offences 544
Vehicle offences 60
Arson and criminal damage 352
Drug offences 232
Possession of weapons 424
Public order offences 883
Miscellaneous crimes 148