Police being called to schools 10 times a month

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POLICE are being called to senior schools more than 10 times a month to deal with incidents including violence, anti-social behaviour and drugs.

Hartlepool officers visited the town’s five secondary schools 123 times during 2011.

Figures obtained by the Mail through a Freedom of Information request include 26 incidents of fighting, assaults or intimidating behaviour, 21 matters of theft and six of bullying.

There were also two call-outs concerning drugs and 18 for anti-social behaviour across Dyke House Sports and Technology College, English Martyrs School, High Tunstall College of Science, Manor College of Technology and St Hild’s CE School.

Police were at High Tunstall the most with officers attending 33 times, closely followed by Dyke House, 27 times, and English Martyrs, 25 times.

Manor and St Hild’s both had 19 visits during the calendar year.

In a joint statement, the headteachers of Hartlepool’s five secondary schools said they “do not hesitate” to seek police assistance and are “fully supported” by the council’s education chiefs.

Chief Inspector Kathy Prudhom, of Hartlepool Police, said: “We respond to a variety of calls on educational premises, ranging from criminal damage and theft to altercations and pupil disputes and we don’t believe there to be a disproportionate amount of calls to schools when compared to calls we get to other types of premises in Hartlepool.

“It is also worth noting that the figures stated may not necessarily relate to incidents reported by the school themselves during school hours, a call may have been made on or around the premises outside of school hours by another individual.

“We respond to all calls on an individual basis, and in line with police procedures.”

She added that the police work closely with headteachers and Hartlepool Borough Council to resolve any issues and provide support through school liaison officers and neighbourhood police teams.

The headteachers’ statement said: “It is important to emphasise that many of these figures relate to calls to police outside the school operating hours, such as, for example, calls about intruders or anti-social behaviour on or in the vicinity of school sites, as well as police attendance at pre-arranged educational events.

“The safety and well-being of our pupils and staff is paramount to us and we have rigorous rules in place to maintain those.

“However, on the rare occasions when we feel the need to seek police assistance we do not hesitate to ask for it.

“We have an excellent working relationship with our local police officers and we very much appreciate the support and guidance which they provide.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman added: “As has been pointed out, it must be stressed that many of these figures relate to calls to police outside the schools’ hours of operation.

“We pride ourselves on our extremely good relationship with the police and we fully support our Hartlepool schools on the occasions when, for whatever reason, they feel it necessary to contact the police.”