Kent Police launches new project with dedicated schools officers

Kent Police officers Photo Frank Leppard

School pupils are receiving additional support on issues including bullying, drugs and online exploitation following the start of a new Kent Police initiative.

The first new recruits of a dedicated team of Schools Officers visited classrooms for the first time this term, to engage with young people and help to address some of the issues that concern them the most. The new initiative, which is believed to be the largest of its kind in the UK, also seeks to equip students with the skills and confidence to keep themselves and others safe at all times.

So far the team consists of 25 officers supporting around 60 secondary schools. Each school has been introduced to its very own officer who will provide a single point of contact for young people, as well as educational professionals, partner agencies, parents and guardians.

It is anticipated that by early next year, most secondary schools, pupil referral units and independent specialist schools in Kent & Medway will each have a dedicated officer who will support students, teachers and parents.

The new team, formed as part of the national uplift programme, will see police officers dedicated to working within these environments and will complement the work of others already undertaking engagement in the educational setting such as PCSO Youth Engagement Officers and Community Safety Teams.

The aim of the new team is to identify and disrupt criminal activity including exploitation, protect vulnerable children, be a positive influence on young people, provide early intervention and overall reduce the fear of crime amongst students.

The newly formed role will cover many areas of policing including; child safety, reducing fear of crime, safeguarding, signposting, intervention, identifying children at risk of exploitation, crime education, promotion of the police service as a career and will ensure a visible presence in secondary schools in Kent.

Over the summer holidays, Schools Officers have been engaging with young people during holiday clubs and youth events.

Superintendent Pete Steenhuis said: “Kent Police is very much invested in young people and always looking at ways to enhance the provisions around schools, and other educational settings across the county.

“The intention is to invest further in educational settings to make sure children feel safe, create a positive experience between young people and law enforcement and detect and prevent harm including exploitation.

“We want this to have a really positive impact on students and will hopefully build good relationships, which I know will not only aid staff and pupils in schools but also within the wider community.”

Samantha Matthews, Child Centred Policing Manager for Kent Police, added: “This team represents Kent Police’s commitment to child centred policing. The core purpose of the Schools Officers is to work with schools and educational establishments to provide a visible and accessible police presence, working closely with young people and ensuring their voices are heard.

“The overarching aim long term is to create a respectful and positive culture of how young people and the police interact.”

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


  1. A lot needs to be done, not only within schools, but within society, home life and peers to bring respect for others back again. The way we treat each other, and ourselves, has a big part to play in gaining confidence and the respect we want for everyone. Crime has a massive influence on youth who can access anything they want online at home and on the move with mobile phones. We need to get over to them that it’s not going to be good ending up in trouble serving time inside prisons. They need to know how that can affect them for the rest of their lives through ostracisation, difficulty to get a job, caught up in a life of crime, spiralling out of control, no friends or family !! I hope the influence of these officers and volunteers can get kids thinking along the right path to take, it is a choice they need to make but one they can have pointed out by people who have their best interests at heart. Good luck with it!

    • It has never existed-crime was at its highest during & after WW2 & those who hark back to the good old days ignore the pitch battles between mods & rockers on Margate Beach, punch ups at the pubs & clubs etc.

      The problem is most don’t have family or any hope-people end up in crime & joining gangs mostly because their home life is bad & the gang replaces what their family isn’t giving them.

      This sort of project might help to avert some, but the judicial/penal system is generally woefully lacking at doing anything other than locking people up all day, punishing them & then spitting them back out for the whole cycle to start again. Until major reform of that-which has been called for by the inspectorate of prisons etc & the legalistation & taxation of drugs happens not much is going to change.

  2. There used to be “ Good citizenship” lessons taught in schools but the Tories abolished them. Those lesions were very useful and pointed out the dangers of drugs getting into crime and vandalism.

      • Indeed, good manners start in the home before you reach school. Sadly & I know it is awfully old fashioned but the demise of the nuclear family, instead seeing a single parent & mothers churning out multiple children from different fathers-nearly always either absent, in jail, or showing the kids criminal behaviour has led to decades of terrible behaviour.

        • My parents split when I was 7, and I was backwards and forwards to various parents and step-parents for the next decade, even going to 4 different secondary schools. This disruption caused me to fail miserably in my exams (despite being in the top maths and English classes when I was 11)… yet I STILL never resorted to crime or became a drug addict/alcoholic, and have always been polite and respectful to others. So all this broken family nonsense is just an excuse.

          • It will not effect everybody in that way & you don’t go into detail about those who cared for you-maybe you were somewhat lucky in they or at least some of them were decent people, but sadly most are products of their environment & if their role models are in prison or involved in crime, smacking the mother about, smacking the child themselves about etc then chances are the kid is going to follow down that path-many of these parents even use the kids to commit crime from a young age. Again, I assume for your first seven years your parents had instilled decent values in you, the problem is from day one most of these kids don’t have that in their life.

    • When was this? Hopefully after the days of teachers caning children until they bled, pushing them down stairs, smacking their heads into wooden desks etc. For those with rose tinted glasses for the good old days they might do well to remember that psychotic staff who enjoyed physically &/or sexually abusing children in their care was not conducive to producing well-rounded human beings.

  3. Talk about reinventing the wheel! Kent Police had dedicated schools officers a number of years ago but got rid of them when they reinvented the wheel again with various “new” policing models. All I can say is good luck to the poor officers doing that job.

    • Seeing how it is going now the kids will probably be chanting defund the police at them, while waving BLM & LGBTQIAZJUX etc flags at them.

  4. The police could do with cleaning up their own act and their own internal issues before trying to tell anyone let alone children they deserve respect. Also I’m pretty sure the money for this would be better served actually doing their jobs and not a PR stunt.

    Respect needs to be earned and there have been too many instances where police have not acted transparently time and time again.

    Not to mention disgusting WhatsApp groups and the like.

    Perhaps we should send children to police stations to teach them about respect.

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