Dedicated Kent Police ‘schools officers’ to be in place in Thanet as part of county-wide programme

Kent Police officers Photo Frank Leppard

Dedicated police officers will be allocated to Thanet schools as part of a scheme running across Kent and Medway.

Schools officers are expected to be in place at least some county sites by this June and will support students, teachers, parents and communities in the” identification and disruption of criminality and  exploitation.”

According to a Kent Police internal engagement document “Service provision has been kept simple and split simply between primary and secondary+ age groups. This secondary+ age group includes secondary, further and higher education.”

Although primary schools have been mentioned in the document it is understood the current programme is to be focused on secondary schools, specialist schools and pupil referral units with Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker  saying he expects most of these venues to have dedicated officers by early 2022.

The scheme will be rolled out across Kent and Medway between June 2021 – January 2022.

What will they do?

There will be a named Schools Officer contact who will potentially be working across several schools.

Officers will work shifts across 7 days a week, including school holidays, and “will work both inside and outside of the educational environment, depending on the focus and areas of priority.”

Amongst other duties schools officers will identify and work with groups of young people at risk of becoming victims, offenders or those that might be subject to radicalisation or exploitation.

They will also work closely with school staff to identify those that are vulnerable to serious violence, gangs, exploitation and county lines involvement.

County Lines drug gangs have targeted youngsters in Thanet. Youngsters are used to transport drugs and weapons and there were also incidents of trafficking. A specialist girls’ worker was employed by the St Giles Trust for its County Lines project in Thanet, Dover and, more recently, Canterbury, following an £800,000 award to enable the scheme to continue until Spring 2022.

Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker says other issues will include bullying, assaults and incidents of children being asked to put money through their bank accounts.

On BBC Radio Kent he said: “There’s lots of crime that young people experience and often they do not tell us about it so being their officer around their school, we will get to hear about it and we can tackle it.”

The teams

The schools officer  team will have a lead Inspector at county level and then, for East Kent, there will be two Police Sergeants overseeing a team of 23 Police constables. Of these seven PCs will cover Thanet schools.

For all of Kent and Medway there will be the lead Inspector, six sergeants and 70 PCs plus a schools performance co-ordinator.

Resources have been allocated taking into account factors including the number of crimes and incidents, number of secondary schools, deprivation indicators and number of pupils. Thanet has been allocated the highest number of PCs in Kent – excluding Medway- with most other areas having three, four or five officers.

A leaflet sent to parents with youngsters at St George’s school in Broadstairs lays out what the role is for officers at secondary level and how they will work.

Schools Officers will:

Support Schools in delivering diversion and intervention schemes for vulnerable children

Act as a point of contact for teachers, parents and children in need

Actively safeguard children at risk of criminality or exploitation

Be there for our children and young people to talk to and seek advice from

The officers will not replace Schools Behaviour Policy and the “intention is not to arrest children in schools.”

The leaflet also tells parents/carers that  each secondary school will have a named officer as core liaison

Officers will maintain regular contact with headteachers and respond to school requests,

They will support teachers in developing content for PSHE lessons to ensure a consistent and appropriate crime and policing message and will work alongside community based officers and education partners.

There will also be support for schools with reported incidents, signposting to or delivering early intervention and awareness inputs for young people and supporting children in recognising signs of danger and harm and how to report them.

Investing officers in educational settings

A Kent Police document explaining the plans says: “As part of the Uplift Programme, we are in the position to invest police posts in a variety of roles across the force. Chief Officers have selected some areas of initial focus for these posts, including enhancing the provision we currently have around schools, youth activities and other educational settings across the county.

“An investment in police officers dedicated to working within these environments, will complement the work our PCSO Youth Engagement Officers (YEOs) and others are already undertaking with colleagues working in the educational environment.

“By investing officers in our educational settings, we aim to ensure young people feel safer in their environments and, through positive dealings with them, prevent them from becoming victims of crime, or exploitation.

“We would also aim to divert children and young people away from the criminal justice system, prevent offending and address the causes of re-offending.

“During our design for this provision, we have worked closely with key stakeholders and practitioners, both internally and externally, to understand the benefit this police officer role will have, and how it can work best with those that are most closely impacted by such a role.

“It is not our intention to criminalise young people by introducing this role – the intention is to improve the lives of young people, make them feel safer, add value from our role in contextual safeguarding, and work with those vulnerable to exploitation.

“Schools Officers will work with primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, pupil referral units, specialist schools and other educational establishments as appropriately defined. The intention is not a provision solely intended for schools and will also look at youth activities such as clubs that might be relevant or of focus to specific challenges and cohorts of students.”


  1. We used to have similar practice in the sixties we had police visit schools at least once a month most of the time twice a month even into the 70s, and would give talks & have discussions with pupils and teachers, this seems like going along the same lines.should never have stopped doing it, needs to be kept up and hopefully will cut juvenile crime down, I feel its a step in the right direction 30 years plus at least to late, one thing for sure it will help those who are bullied and vulnerable feel safer and have someone other than a teacher who they can talk to, I hope it is successful.

  2. I’m sorry but this is nothing new, just reinventing the wheel. I retired from Kent Police as a Detective on the Margate Task Force in 2018 BCk then we have dedicated School Liaison officers on the MTF. I also fought hard to set up a monthly Safeguarding Children Forum between all Thanet Schools, MTF, Community Safety Unit and Early Help Services, this information sharing forum was supported by a dedicated analyst to identify those children most vulnerable and at risk? I believe after I retired my project that was also being Piloted in West Kent was pared back and the analytical support withdraw?

  3. What’s wrong with “reinventing the wheel” it worked well when I was in school, some fifty years ago, so why shouldn’t they bring it back? when you look at the way criminal gangs work today using our children, it’s only right that something like this should be brought in, if not back into practice, so don’t be sorry Mr D HART.

  4. I remember in 2005 doing business with a Met Police Officer who was the full time resident School Police Officer at a Coprehensive in London. I hope this local system can sort our youths out and help them value themselves more. Well done Kent Police for investing in this scheme.

    • That is the USA, we are not the USA, our schools are not like the USA, our Police Force are not like the USA police force, our general public are not like the USA public even our criminals are not like the USA criminals.

    • Carly I fear you are right.

      It is an assumption that Police are capable of impressing children.

      In Portsmouth the hugely impressive Quinton Shillingford MBE (Q) runs Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Club with which he has school curriculum access and involves volunteer police. Our grandson (A dreadful little playground fighter up to joining HOP Boxing .. the primary kids had ran a fight club and misled teachers where next fight would take place) Our grandson still thinks press ups are called “Disciplinaries”. That is evidence of the boxing coaches grip. He is ruddy good at press ups. One day at primary school he told a teacher “My bare knuckle days are over . could cost me my boxing licence in time to come”

      We bouncers banned all off duty Kent Police about 1980. To eliminate their thuggish behaviour. We were then invited to take part in targetting named officers who knocked juveniles about. But we declined. The idea to take the streets off Thanet Plod at night was superfluous really as you’d never find the nightshift. Unless you went to a Westgate pub and disturbed their lock ins.

      I understand the KCC juvenile offender scheme got good results. Run by a bouncer with all the respect due to someone who banned off duty plod from civilised gatherings.

      Retired Kent Plod eulogising their past innovations and lamenting the withdrawal of funds? Two a penny in Thanet.

      Can you imagine Schools Liaison Prose and Verse?

      “And here children Pc Clod to perform Ode to Odell in self aggrandising mode”

      “I have been where you fear to be and I did it for you

      I have seen what you fear to see and I did it for you”


  5. So at last common sense prevails and officers are reintroduced to work with schools again. This time it does appear to be with a proper commitment. I ridiculed the Force for disbanding the last team of specialist schools officers (constables with proper training). The role and benefits were never understood properly despite being recognised by the Chief Constable at the time (Mike Fuller). Look back in the history of the role- School Liaison Officers then Youth Crime Reduction Officers and a lot of good work was achieved with several bespoke educational resources being produced and used across the county. I know as I spent 12 years in the role. Done properly with appropriate training the Force and Young people will benefit again. Hoorah!

    • Before Fuller’s time it was Phillips. What did a Thanet Police sgt say? “If they are from Newington they are scum”. The late John Allen, chair east westcliff residents, phoned up Sadd and Rogers and involved Kent Police Authority. John had only just started his complaining against police. Which ended up with change of police complaint law.

      His involvement started when his daughter with his grandchil in car, got a puncture on Albion Hill. She flagged down a police car and asked for help And the reply was “We aint the f-cking AA” She clarified that she meant control traffic while she changed the wheel. But they drove off laughing.

      John, a Freemason and retired ships master, at first thought his daughter mis heard. He phoned to speak to a sergeant assuming, no names no pack drill, straighten the young officers out. But the sergeant said to John “They are right we are not the f-cking AA”.

      And then John took the path that would end with change of police law. He was asked to help, which he always did, for prior victims of prisoner neck breaker Pc HILL. We reported on this to Judge Giles Rooke re senior police misleading the court. And that was at work when Pc BURGESS got his lenient sentence. Later John led complaints about Thanet Police and 6th Thanet Gun Range. He died before IPCC was created 2004. And before the 6th Thanet and firearms law enforcement shortcomings were linked to the nil actioned 20 complaints of abuse from RSD children. Early to mid 90s. I have reported this to Operation Winterkey.

      Fuller was under Common Law and Judicial Review and Abuse of Process action when Baroness Scotland rescued him into a sinecure at CPS.

      PHILLIPS was under a cloud, re paramilitary collusion and UDA, ever since he was obliged to leave the Rosemary Nelson case in Ulster. It was when Gen de Chasterlain GFA Arms Decommissioner 2003 wanted to deploy to investigate in Kent, that Home Sec Blunkett whisked PHILLIPS away into a training sinecure.

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