Damilola school still awaiting security upgrade

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The Independent Online

Security measures have still not been put in place at the London school where Damilola Taylor, who was killed more than a year ago, was a pupil.

Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has been asked to report to David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, in the new year to explain what work is being done at Oliver Goldsmith School in Peckham.

The request for a personal update came after a teacher wrote to Mr Blunkett, saying that youngsters were still being threatened and robbed.

Police have proposed schemes for the area including patrols by civilian wardens and a "junior citizenship" project with a mobile police station. But 13 months after Damilola, aged 10, was stabbed in a housing estate as he returned home from an after-school computer club the measures have still not been introduced.

Bola Ogun, chairman of governors at the school, said the police seemed committed to improving child safety but there was disappointment in the community that nothing had yet happened.

Mr Ogun said: "There are a number of things we have been promised and things now need to be put in place. "We had a meeting recently with senior police officers and a representative from the local authority about things that are being talked about like community wardens and the junior citizenship scheme.

"It's clear that a number of people are disappointed that they aren't in place yet and felt that some of the things that have delayed them seemed a bit ridiculous. But it's clear work is being done – the police are very serious about this and want to introduce a scheme which can then be used elsewhere.

"We would like to see the commitments and dates being firmed up in writing so we can say to the community what is being done and when."

"I'm disappointed some of these things won't be in place for January," he added.

Last month, Sue Frolish, a teacher at the school, said a boy of nine was threatened with a hammer by four youths, while another was robbed of a mobile phone.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said that extra security had been introduced, including six patrol officers for the area and a named officer to act as liaison with the school.

Earlier this month, 15-year-old Abdul Mayne died after being stabbed outside Little Ilford secondary school in Manor Park, east London.

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