Extra patrols to protect schoolchildren

The home secretary has announced extra police patrols to protect children making their way home from school.

The announcement comes as part of a £3 million scheme to tackle youth crime.

“With the clocks going back and the nights drawing in, it is particularly important that young people feel safer walking home from school,” Ms Smith said.

Earlier this year, Ms Smith outlined plans for a programme of action on knife crime with an initial investment of £2 million.

The ten areas taking part in the Tackling Knives Action Programme are London, Essex, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, South Wales and Thames Valley.

The new investment announced by Ms Smith today will be used for after-school patrols, the Safer School Partnerships, and Operation Staysafe – a programme where police can use safeguarding laws to remove young people at risk and take them into places of safety.

“With more police officers patrolling your streets, we are emphasising our core message that young people do not need to carry a knife for protection – it makes you less safe, not more – and these additional police are there to help protect you.”

Children’s secretary Ed Balls added: “Schools are one of the places that young people feel the safest and fortunately knife crime inside schools is incredibly rare.

“This announcement will make sure schools remain the safe haven they have always been, preventing young people from being drawn into knife crime outside the school gate.”