Parents’ schoolyard brawl: Hartlepool police defend response

Marian Fairley, headteacher of Lynnfield Primary School.
Marian Fairley, headteacher of Lynnfield Primary School.

Police chiefs have said it handled reports of a schoolyard brawl between parents with “utmost professionalism” after a headteacher complained about a lack of response.

Marian Fairley, who leads Lynnfield Primary in Grosvenor Street, complained to Cleveland Police after officers did not turn up after concerns were made following a disturbance at the end of the school day on Tuesday, July 14.

The safety and wellbeing of our children and everyone at Lynnfield Primary School is of paramount importance to me.

Marian Fairley

A call had been made at 2pm, when advice was offered “to those concerned” before two 999 calls were made at the time of the confrontation at 3.10pm.

It led to two people being banned from the school’s grounds.

In addition to a complaint being submitted to the police, the school also raised its concerns with education chiefs as the end of the school term approached.

A letter to Mrs Fairley has now set out what happened and how the force handled the incident.

It states officers did not attend the initial report because it had no officers available.

The details were also passed on to the policing team on duty, but because of a lack of resources, no one was able to attend, with an apology issued on this point, with an added comment it has to prioritise each call.

The second call was then prioritised as an emergency and officers arrived in 7 minutes and “officers attended promptly and dealt with the incident.”

The letter from the professional standards department adds: “I can only apologise if you have been made to feel that your report wasn’t dealt with appropriately, however, with the resources available, both reports were treated with the utmost professionalism.

“As a partnership agency I understand you will have measures in place to safeguard parents and children.

“A potential separation of the two parties may have helped to avoid the conflict that ensued.

“Cleveland Police rely on partnership working and appreciate your on-going support.

“Please speak to your neighbourhood officers regarding any further concerns you may encounter and we will do our best to work with you to prevent this from happening again.”

Cleveland Police declined to comment further.

Mrs Fairley said: “I understand the pressure Cleveland Police is under following central government cuts.

“Although my initial call, notifying police that an incident may occur at the end of the school day, was not dealt with due to a lack of resources; I am satisfied that my second call was prioritised as an emergency.

“Unfortunately, they arrived too late to prevent the incident from occurring.

“The safety and wellbeing of our children and everyone at Lynnfield Primary School is of paramount importance to me.”