Police keep watch on kids leaving Tower Hamlets schools to make home time safer

Sixth Formers Shuhail Islam (left) and Kayleigh Russell test out the street patrol with Pc Duncan Ev

Sixth Formers Shuhail Islam (left) and Kayleigh Russell test out the street patrol with Pc Duncan Evans - Credit: Archant

Schoolkids are being accompanied in the street at home time because of a fear of crime and violence in London’s East End.

Pupils are launching a safety scheme with neighbourhood police, Tower Hamlets Council and the London Citizens organisation following concerns about safety when they leave school.

SchoolsWatch is to be rolled out across the East End with 12 secondaries signing up.

A pilot kicks off at Bethnal Green Academy tomorrow with youngsters being accompanied along monitored routes by neighbourhood police officers, teachers and volunteer sixform ‘student wardens’.

The Met’s Borough Commander for Tower Hamlets, Chief Supt Dave Stringer, said: “This will help security and increase the perception of safety as well as contribute to a sense of well being.”

The scheme involves mapping safer routes between schools and bus-stops, including whatever CCTV is available, then recommending those routes to the youngsters.

It also includes ‘safe havens’ such as shops, businesses, social housing sites or other suitable venues to give temporary refuge for a child if needed. The ‘safe havens’ were introduced by London Citizens last summer in the school neighbourhood around Columbia Road and Hackney Road.

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School principal Mark Keary said: “The safety of our children is every adult’s responsibility. This scheme protects them and also develops a sense of civic responsibility.”

Neighbourhood Pcs Duncan Evans and Matt Selby helped the youngsters develop the scheme after agreement with nearby shops and businesses for safe havens.

Sixthform student wardens will be in mobile phone and radio contact with the officers and be in sight of adults at all times including the school’s Heads of Year, vice principals and teachers.

Two more schools in Bethnal Green are signing up to the scheme, Morpeth and Oaklands, along with nine other Tower Hamlets secondaries, Mulberry and Swanley in Whitechapel, Stepney Green and Sir John Cass in Stepney, Central Foundation and Raines Foundation in Bow, St Paul’s Way in Bow Common, Langdon Park in Poplar and George Green’s on the Isle of Dogs.