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NPCC responds to a report into Safer Schools Officers

16 Jan 2023

NPCC Lead for Children and Young Persons, T/DAC Catherine Roper, responds to a report into police officers in schools

The NPCC has responded to a report by the Runnymede Trust: Over-policed and under-protected: The road to Safer Schools, about the prevalence of police officers in schools.

The report follows Freedom of Information requests to 45 police forces, showing there are 979 police officers in schools in the UK. Half of Safer Schools Officers (SSOs), or their equivalents, are based in London and the report observed that police officers are more likely to be based in schools in areas with higher numbers of Black and ethnic minority students.

The Trust is calling for the removal police officers from schools.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Children and Young People, T/Deputy Assistant Commissioner Catherine Roper, said:

“Policing should provide a service to everyone that is of the highest possible standard. This especially applies to children and young people – and I am so sorry if any experience you have had has impacted upon the trust and confidence you have in police officers.

“Schools officers, together with all officers whose primary role is to work with children and young people, are essential to ensure that we can provide support and guidance to pupils in schools and colleges. Officers are there to build trust and forge relationships with students and staff and empower young people to know their rights.

“I disagree with the recommendation of the report that Schools Officers should be withdrawn. I am keen to work with the Runnymede Trust to understand their report fully and to work together to find ways to improve upon the concerns they raise. However, officers across England and Wales are providing essential support to children and young people, and to withdraw that would be to remove an essential support for them. 

“Police involvement with schools is closely monitored and agreed with headteachers and education authorities.

“We fully accept that some of our powers, like stop and search, are disproportionately applied to Black communities, and we are working hard – including the full 43 force commitment to the Police Race Action Plan - to put this right.

“I have personally contacted the Runnymede Trust on the back of their report and I am delighted that they have accepted our offer to be part of our ongoing research into police officers in schools, alongside the Youth Endowment Fund.”