WMP seeks to link school exclusions to violent crime

West Midlands Police will become the first force in the country to keep records of children excluded from school in a bid to prevent youngsters being lured into criminality.

May 22, 2019
By Tony Thompson
PCC David Jamieson

West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson believes it will provide solid evidence of the link between school expulsions and violent crime.

“The National Crime Agency says that 100 per cent of children involved in County Lines are excluded children,” explained Mr Jamieson, who has initiated the project.

“I’ve asked the force to provide that concrete evidence that children who are excluded from school are getting involved in serious violence. Anecdotally we know it is true, but this is about demonstrating it.

“We are the first force to be actually doing this. It’s a step forward, because what we will have is that evidence that we can take locally to discuss how we are going to deal with it, but also nationally to central government.”

Senior figures in policing have been highly critical of the ‘off-rolling’ process, in which schools deliberately exclude pupils that are difficult to manage and unlikely to achieve good exam passes to boost their overall pass mark.

Earlier this year, the Department of Education’s Timpson review called for schools to be held accountable for the progress of any pupils they exclude.

Mr Jamieson, a former teacher, believes schools guilty of such actions should be fined up to £50,000.

“I raised this issue directly with the Secretary of State for Education at the Prime Minister’s Youth Violence Summit at 10 Downing Street earlier this year,” he said.

“In extreme circumstances I still believe ring-fenced fines should be placed upon the worst offending schools. The fines should follow off-rolled pupils into alternative education provision. The most important thing is that the government gets on with the implementation of this report and focus on ending the practice of off-rolling.”

Addressing the issue at a meeting of the Strategic Policing and Crime Board, West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: “Young people who are outside of mainstream care, or mainstream education, become vulnerable to being ‘looked after’ by other people. My intention is to try and collate more information on this. I don’t think there is a silver bullet around violent crime. There isn’t one thing that will resolve this, it is lots of things.”

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