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Met taken to court over officers in schools

THE Met is facing legal action over concerns about the presence of officers in London schools.

About 300 Safer Schools Officers (SSO) are deployed in the capital to reduce criminality, victimisation and anti-social behaviour by giving presentations and monitoring the school gates. 

However the family of a black autistic boy, who was investigated over a verbal altercation with an SSO, is now challenging the Met over the scheme. 

The legal action alleges that putting cops in schools has “disproportionately negative consequences” on black-and-ethnic-minority (Bame) children and those with special needs and disabilities. 

Lawyer Sarah Hannett, representing the family, told the High Court that the case was not to challenge “the principle of deploying police officers in schools.”

She said that it would look instead at the “failure to monitor, assess and understand the equalities implications of putting police officers in schools in London.”

Ms Hannett argued that Bame students are subjected to “disproportionately high levels of police interventions.” 

Dan Rosenberg, who is also representing the family, said that it was important to determine whether having police officers in schools may have “disproportionately negative consequences” for Bame children, which could cause them “to be drawn into the criminal justice system unnecessarily.”

Concerns over the presence of cops in schools have been expressed by campaigners and trade unions. 

Earlier this month, a group of academics and activists in Manchester launched a campaign to press the city’s mayor Andy Burnham to keep schools cop-free. 

One of the groups involved in the campaign, Kids of Colour, told the Morning Star that it was “shocking” that police are still being put in schools, despite “evidence of institutional racism in other areas of policing.”

“We stand by the belief that schools must not be sites of policing and that is why we are calling for no police in schools through our campaign,” said Roxy Legane, founder of Kids of Colour and steering member of Northern Police monitoring Project.

“When people suggest that this implementation will keep our children safe, we ask them to reflect on whose children they are talking about, and whether the safety they hope for is inclusive of all children in our society.” 

A full hearing of the claim against the Met is expected to be heard later this year. 

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