UK: Police presence in schools harms students and ‘exacerbates inequalities’

Plans to increase police presence in schools have caused disquiet amongst pupils, parents and campaigners. Police officers were introduced to schools in 2002 as part of the "tough on crime" agenda introduced by New Labour and have stayed ever since. They are known as "school based police officers" (SBPOs).


Police presence in schools harms students and ‘exacerbates inequalities’ (The Justice Gap, link):

"Plans to increase the presence of police officers in schools could help feed ‘the school-to-prison pipeline’, according to a recent report. The No Police in Schools initiative, in partnership with Kids of Colour and the Northern Police Monitoring Project (NPMP), recently published a study in response to plans to put at least 20 additional police in schools (SBPOs) in Manchester for the 2020/2021 academic year.

School-based police officers were introduced by New Labour in 2002 as part of the government’s Safer Schools programme which was conceived as part of it ‘tough on crime’ agenda. You can read secondary school teacher Vik Chechi-Ribeiro in the Guardian on why the police have no place in schools.

Almost nine in 10 respondents out of 554 people surveyed were negative about the prospect of a regular police presence in schools (88%). Many were worried that the introduction of SBPOs into schools with a higher proportion of working-class students and young people of colour could ‘exacerbate existing inequalities’. One respondent said: ‘We know that institutional racism is an issue in the police, and we should not further introduce this to our schools.’"

See the report by No Police In Schools: Decriminalise the Classroom: A Community Response to Police in Greater Manchester's Schools (link to pdf)

And the campaign website: No Police In Schools (link)

 

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