Leeds schools 'not disclosing information to police' to 'protect reputations', councillor claims

Schools in Leeds are failing to disclose important information to the police in a bid to "protect their reputations", a senior councillor has claimed.

Friday, 5th April 2019, 2:18 pm
Updated Friday, 5th April 2019, 2:59 pm
Coun Carter said she was concerned by the situation.

Amanda Carter suggested that some serious incidents taking place on school grounds were going unreported as education leaders did not want them to become public knowledge.

Conservative Coun Carter, who represents the Calverley and Farlsey, area made the claim in a West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel meeting during a debate about youth crime on Friday.

Coun Carter said the issues had been raised at the Safer Leeds partnership.

She said concerns had been raised at the Safer Leeds partnership, which brings together public bodies in the city to tackle crime and disorder.

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In response, the region's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson said that the "fragmented" education system was hindering communication between schools and the police.

Coun Carter said: "There is generally a lot of concern, particularly from Safer Leeds, that schools aren't disclosing everything they should.

"They are more concerned about protecting their reputations rather than telling the police."

PCC Mark Burns-Williamson said the "fragmented" schools system "didn't help" matters.

The National Education Union and The National Association of Headteachers have both been contacted for a response to the comments.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "When you look at the fragmentation of the education system - you've got schools, you've got academies - it really doesn't help.

"It really comes down to the government needing to get messages out to schools and academies to make sure they're doing certain things.

"At the moment we're having to approach every school in the area, and we're doing some good work with school liaison officers, but it's very time consuming."

The claims follow a report by Ofsted last month which said that some headteachers in London were not telling the Metropolitan Police about individual pupils carrying knives.

Mr Burns-Williamson told Friday's panel meeting that more "early intervention" work was being done in primary schools, in a bid stop younger children falling into cycles of crime in their later years.

He said: "The age range we are dealing with is getting younger.

"There's more focus on primary schools now, so there's an emphasis on prevention before they get involved in criminal activity."