Almost 1,000 police officers are operating in UK schools, figures show

Almost one thousand police officers are operating in schools across the UK, figures show, with a charity warning of a “deeply concerning” and “normalised” police

presence. Some 979 police officers are based in schools, according to a Freedom of Information request to 45 police forces by the Runnymede Trust. Half of Safer

Schools Officers (SSOs), or their police force-based equivalents, are based in London. Research suggests that officers are more likely to be in schools in areas with higher

numbers of pupils eligible for free school meals. Such areas are also likely to have higher numbers of black and ethnic minority students, the Runnymede Trust

said. The race equality think tank said placing SSOs in schools “can facilitate the school-to-prison pipeline” for many black and ethnic minority young people. It is

deeply concerning how normalised police presence in our children's schools is, with no question over the highly racialised and damaging impact excessive force can have inside a

school settingDr Shabna Begum, head of research at the Runnymede Trust The figures are outlined in a new briefing: Over-policed and under-protected: the road to safer

schools. All but seven forces responded to the data request. It comes after figures obtained from Scotland Yard by the Children’s Commissioner showed 650 children

underwent “intrusive and traumatising” strip-searches under stop and search powers by the Met between 2018 and 2020. Of these children, 58 per cent were described by the

officer as being black, and more than 95 per cent were boys.