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Over-policed and under-protected

January 2023

We recommend that readers view this report from the Runnymede Trust alongside an article in FKCL magazine's 6th Edition at p.37 from a senior police officer working with the Safer Schools Partnership here

Safer Schools Officers (SSOs) fail to support a safer school environment, particularly for Black and ethnic minority children who are already over-policed and under-protected.

Freedom of Information requests made by the Runnymede Trust of 45 police forces show that there are 979 police officers operating in UK schools. This reveals that the full scope of police presence in schools is 43% greater than previous figures have suggested.

In 'Over-policed and under-protected', our analysis shows that:

In the wake of the Child Q scandal, and recent research showing that Black boys were the target of 58% of all strip searches conducted by the Metropolitan Police between 2018-2020 (rising to 75% for 2018 alone), this new data on the growing levels of police presence in schools is concerning.

By bringing the criminal justice system into schools, the placement of SSOs can facilitate the school-to-prison pipeline for many Black and ethnic minority young people. Given these disproportionalities and the over-policing of Black and ethnic minority children, ‘Over-policed and under-protected’ makes a series of recommendations regarding police presence in schools and the use of strip search on children.

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