A report was received from
Police Sergeant Steve Hicks on the work of the Enfield Safer
Schools Team and the work and education carried out by them to
deter the carrying of weapons by young people.
He highlighted the
Enfield Safer Schools Team consists of 14 officers. Some officers
have one dedicated secondary school and others have 2. They also
link with the local Primary School concentrating on years 5 and
The enforcement duty is seen as a last option, the
main focus for officers is in gaining the trust of pupils and
looking out for their general safety. This may involve patrols
undertaken after school time. Advice is
given to youngsters on how to reduce crime by looking after their
property and recent initiative to immobilise their
Operation Crest is a project that has been
undertaken in secondary schools and aimed at youth violence, knife
crime and gang awareness. Presentations
are given by police officers, a London Paramedic, an ex- offender
and a bereaved mother also gives a speech. The presentation is hard- hitting and has been
showed at 5 secondary schools. The aim is for all schools to
receive the presentation by the end of the school year.
Weapon sweeps have taken place to detect and deter
the hiding of weapons. Every school has
had 2 sweeps to date. Knife arches have
also been used although there is a reticence by some head teachers
in their use.
The following issues were
member of the public thought that some children may be too young to
be exposed to this information. It was
stated that a lot of young people thought the presentations and
weapon searches were a good thing and felt protected as a result of
- It was
asked how success from the Operation Crest project could be
measured. Police Sergeant Steve Hicks
said this was difficult to quantify but there is a questionnaire
for young people to complete and sometimes this leads to follow up
issues with young people
asked what happens when a knife is found during a weapon sweep it
was answered that a positive arrest policy is
undertaken. It was noted that there
were very few weapons actually found.
School sanctions may also be appropriate for other items found such
as for a school compass or craft scissors.
- Natalie Sherman said that together with some other parents from
the Parent Engagement Panel she had seen the presentation as part
of Operation Crest she thought it was an eye-opening and excellent
project. She thought it would be useful
for other parents to view this, especially as this subject was
sometimes a difficult one to discuss with your child.
- It was
discussed that the bereaved mother who has been working on
Operation Crest was hoping to do more work with
sweeps are carried out at the beginning of school and it was asked
if this would be better done at the end of the school day, as there
was a concern that pupils may contact friends or hide something
before going into school. Noted that
PCSO’s and plain clothes officers are present at this time
and would be aware of any actions of this kind.
asked if parents are informed of future weapon searches, it was
noted that at the beginning of term parents would be informed that
as part of school policy weapon searches may be conducted. However
a date for the search would not be given.
- Sergeant Hicks spoke of the schools where Operation Crest had
taken place which included the PRU (Pupil Referral Unit)
- It was
asked if the project was similar to the ‘Gangs Call-
In’. The Gang- Call in was a
targeted piece of work aimed at gang members, potential gang
members, where people were invited to Wood Green Crown Court with
paramedics, ex gang members and
bereaved mothers spoke of the dangers involved. This was a joined
up approach to encourage people to follow a more positive future
with work options discussed.
Safer Schools officers are experienced people who work with Child
Protection officers to help vulnerable children including
‘Looked after Children’
asked about 6th form colleges, it was noted that
although they do not come under the remit of Steve Hicks team,
there are dedicated officers who go into colleges.
- It was
confirmed that if youngsters are caught twice with a
knife they should expect a custodial
sentence. It was thought parents should
be aware of this ruling.
large numbers of pupils at Enfield Schools come from outside the
Borough it was thought that the formula for deciding Enfield police
numbers should take this into account.
It was mentioned that Councillors could lobby MOPAC for them to
consider updating the formula used.
gang related issues are presented to the Safer Schools Team it was
asked if these matters are passed on to the Gangs unit. It was noted that the Gangs unit would be informed
as they would be able to look at an exit strategy.
are a large number of schools where knife arches are not able to be
used due to head teachers reluctance to have them at their
schools. Councillor Laban would discuss
this issue with the Cabinet member in an effort to pursue this
Police Sergeant Steve Hicks was
thanked for his report.