A day in the life of a Safer Schools Officer
The following is a factual account of a day that a safer schools officer had during June 2009.
Arriving at my usual place of duty just after 0800hrs my first commitment was a meeting with a member of the senior school team to discuss an incident I had dealt with the previous week when a small group of male students had come into school under the influence of Cannabis and had admitted to smoking a 'joint' on route to school. A decision had since been made by the school that the main offender would now be permanently excluded due to this and previous behaviour problems.
This was followed by a pre school patrol of the areas close to the school and came across a number of students smoking. Words of advice were given to some and cigarettes confiscated and destroyed. In one case a packet of tobacco was confiscated. All details were given to the school deputy head for follow up action with parents and in school discipline.
After school began shortly after 0830hrs I had a weekly meeting with 4 students, who's attendance had been very poor, to discuss their previous weeks attendance. One of my multilingual PCSO colleagues had been involved with visits to the family and this combination had resulted in an improvement in attendance.
I then spent about 2 hours with the Attendance Officer visiting the home addresses of identified Yr10 students with poor attendance. This was quite a shock to parents who were shown the attendance records to highlight the concerns and made aware of their legal obligation. Following these visits and at the request of parents I spoke to three students at school and informed them of the visits and gave them strong words of advice about their attendance.
This was followed by meeting with two Yr7 students who had been bullying other Yr7 students in school and also been involved in anti-social behaviour out of school. Their parents had been made aware of this meeting and had agreed to it, although they were not present. Words of advice were given to both students about the consequences of their actions and potential criminal proceedings should things escalate. The use of a Restorative Justice meeting with all parties was suggested for consideration at a future date.
I then met up with a lad who was in the process of getting a Final Warning from the Police for an assault and was working with the Youth Offending Service. He had previously mentioned to me his interest in boxing so I had obtained a referral form for the Unity Boxing Programme and went through it with him and his head of year. The referral was completed which the school supported. This was aimed at channelling his energy in the 'right' way and to provide him with something positive to focus on.
Lunch had been reached. Not an hour of refs (refreshments) but a quick bite to eat and then an external patrol looking for students leaving the site without permission. Today I caught 12 students out without permission of parents or the school who were returned to school. Two had been truanting all morning. Two gave false names but then came and handed themselves in to me when I returned. The other students had no reason or explanation for being out of school. All names were handed to the school for follow up action (letter to parents). This type of behaviour has resulted in reports of student anti social behaviour, extensive amounts of rubbish near to the school, a poor perception of the students and afternoon truancy.
As soon as I returned from this I was made aware of two incidents involving between 15 and 20 Yr8 students drinking alcohol on site during lunch time yesterday and today. All students were identified, the main offenders were excluded, arrangements were made for all to attend a session with Drink Sense to give the support and guidance and I was going to attend re-entry meetings with parents for the excluded students.
1515hrs had come around very quickly and school was finishing. I undertook a patrol of the area, paying particular attention to an underpass near the school which has a history of being a flash point for problems. All students passed through without any issues and no other problems reported in the area.
1600hrs returned to the school to complete day, finalise my paperwork and book off duty.