This statement, on behalf of Northern Police Monitoring Project, Kids of Colour and the No Police in Schools Campaign, is addressed to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, the GMCA, Head Teachers in the Greater Manchester area and anyone who supports the placement of police in schools.
Learning today that a ‘safer schools officer’ has been charged with child sex offences is awful. We’re horrified that once again, police have been allowed to harm children.
We’re sending solidarity and strength to the individuals and their families and loved ones as they try to work through their trauma.
This is another example of police officers deeply harming children. Many will remember the horrific news of Child Q being strip searched and then learning that this was one of thousands of strip searches by police officers. 3,939 (75%) of these children were from non-white backgrounds and 16 of them were aged between 10 and 12 years old. Others will remember how a school-based police officer assaulted an autistic 10-year-old pupil in Merseyside.
These are just some of the cases of harm that have been spoken about in the media, and each one alone shows that police officers have no place in our schools. Meanwhile, Andy Burnham is instead consulting right now on whether to raise council taxes to give more money to Greater Manchester Police.
The Runnymede Trust revealed this week that there are 979 officers currently operating in UK schools, and that this number is set to grow. They also show that those officers are more likely to be based in schools in areas with higher numbers of pupils eligible for free school meals, which correlates with higher numbers of Black and ethnic minority students.
Our communities know that police are not the solution. In our report ‘Decriminalise the Classroom’, which surveyed 554 people from across Greater Manchester, we asked community members how they would like funding to be spent when it comes to education. The answer was youth workers, counsellors and more teachers. Children deserve safety and support, instead of being at risk of harm and criminalisation.
Every day that Mayors and Head Teachers are happy for police to be in our schools, our children could be harmed and traumatised. We’re calling on you to protect children and young people by removing school-based, linked, or affiliated police officers immediately and instead use any council tax increases to fund education.