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Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Teachers welcome police in schools
A pilot scheme has already put police into schools
Police units based full-time in schools would help to reduce classroom violence, says a teachers' union.

There have been claims that a number of secondary schools with serious discipline problems could receive a permanent police presence.

And the National Union of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers says that police in schools would be welcomed as a step towards reducing attacks on staff.

"If the presence of full-time police in schools helps reduce violence and protects innocent teachers and pupils, then it is a welcome step," said general secretary Eamonn O'Kane.

"Increasing the number of police in schools is highly regrettable but, in some circumstances, entirely necessary. Violence against teachers has gone up, as has the number of pupils who attack each other."

Carrying knives

Mr O'Kane said that recent research showed that among 11- to 12-year-old boys, about a tenth claimed to carry a knife or other weapon.

And a large number of older teenage boys claimed to have been involved in assaults.

As such he said that the deployment of police in schools might reduce the risks faced by teachers and pupils.

There has already been a pilot scheme in the London Borough of Southwark, with the police setting up a regular presence in secondary schools across the borough.

And a comprehensive school in Essex has already experimented with hiring security guards to prevent disruptive behaviour.

But schools in the United Kingdom have so far not approached the level of security that has become part of school life in parts of the United States.

Metal detectors, armed police and random searches have been used in an attempt to keep weapons outside of the school gates.

See also:

28 Dec 00 | Education
Schools to get 22m security boost
30 Mar 00 | Education
Security guards to patrol school
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