MAR 01] WEST MIDLANDS POLICE NEWS
Truancy Crusade Sends Kids Back To School
anti-truancy initiative in Coventry has seen more than 180
children returned to school since the start of the school year.
officers in Wyken and Bell Green sectors have stopped 222
children in a series of spot-checks designed to catch youngsters
182 were taken back to school as part of the scheme set up
between police, education welfare officers and headteachers.
of those stopped were aged 15 or 16, but officers were surprised
at the number of younger children they caught.
Lee Patterson, the beat manager for Longford who co-ordinated
the initiative, said:
stopped a total of 222 children in thirteen four-hour patrols.
They returned 182 to school but the others were either with
parents or had a valid reason to be out.
operation took place in residential and shopping centres in
the Bell Green and Wyken areas and did not include the city
centre. The initiative began at the beginning of term and we
will be continuing it throughout the school year."
Patterson paid tribute to the dedication and commitment of
education welfare officers and the head teachers of the schools
in the target areas.
than 60 youngsters were stopped in the first five days of the
inter-agency approach has ensured minimum loss to the regular
patrol time undertaken by officers, who are all based on the
sector and who are committed to tackling nuisance crime often
committed by youngsters who are playing truant from school.
education welfare officers have been a great help as have the
teaching staff who have been and will continue to contact the
parents of those found outside school without a valid reason
during school hours.
Angie Fisher, from the Wyken sector, added:
is apparent that the school children are now aware of our
pro-active patrols. Our action has been praised by school
staff and the parents of some of the children who are not
always aware that their children have been missing their
well as returning the youngsters to school, officers were also
arrested three youths wanted for outstanding crimes.
are strong links between crime statistics and truancy but we
receive more complaints from people about bad behaviour and
nuisance crimes to do with this age group.
are determined to address these issues and punish the people
must add that most pupils in this area have a good attendance
record and we have been delighted with the many positive
contacts we have made with pupils attending local schools.
is the minority who believe that they will not be caught and
who think that their parents will never find out that we are
targeting in this on-going initiative."