Schools to join campaign against gun crime

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Schools are to be told they have a key role to play in combating gun crime and the gangster culture amongst today's teenagers.

The Children, Schools and Families Secretary, Ed Balls, wants to see an expansion of a scheme already operating in 400 inner-city schools where a designated police officer is assigned to a school to combat crime.

In some areas of the country, notably in Tower Hamlets, east London, the police officer has an office of their own in the school, and warns pupils of the dangers of drugs and patrols the playground at break times.

Under new legislation which came into force yesterday, schools will, for the first time, have a duty to promote community cohesion.

Mr Balls said yesterday that the new legislation could also be used to try to combat the gun culture that resulted in 11-year-old Rhys Jones being shot dead in a Liverpool car park 11 days ago. "We see schools playing an important role in tackling gang and gun crime," Mr Balls said.

One of the key initiatives they could take, he argued, would be in spotting early signs of problems with a pupil – details of which could then be passed on to children's services.