Bedford headteacher forced to wear bodycam after abuse from parents

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Abuse from school-run parents to enforcement officers, and to school staff, has led to one headteacher being issued with a bodycam.

The recent (4 October) Bedford Borough Council Informal Climate Change Committee discussed the measures the Council has put in place to make the roads around Borough schools safer and cleaner.

But a minority of parents are directing abuse at those trying to enforce them, the councillors were told.

Councillor Charles Royden (LibDem, Brickhill Ward) has trained as a civil enforcement officer so he could go out with the teams. He said he has witnessed the “appalling treatment officers face from parents outside schools”.

Councillor Royden has also been on the receiving end of the abuse and told the meeting that a parent, who had parked on zig zags, had threatened to run him over.

“One of our officers was put in hospital recently, and one of our female officers was assaulted by a male who was taken to court and prosecuted,” he said.

“There is a zero-tolerance approach to violence, or any kind of abuse, against our officers, which they seem to suffer frequently.

“But we are continuing to make sure that we make the roads around our schools as safe as we possibly can for children.

“So a thank you to all of our officers who have worked so hard to make sure we do our very best to keep children safe from carbon and to make a better environment for all.”

Councillor Royden added that the Council has invested in new technology, such as CCTV to help police the new restrictions.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson said that he had accompanied Councillor Royden for one session outside a school.

“I was appalled by the behaviour of a minority of parents,” he said. “We shouldn’t tolerate any of the abuse that our staff get.

“We’ve had headteachers getting it [the abuse] as well. I think we’ve actually given a body camera to one of the headteachers because of some of the abuse she gets when telling some parents to behave and not put all children at risk.

“So it gets to some stage where you have to issue a headteacher with a camera.”

Some of the school run measures the Council has put in place include ‘no idling zones’ and restricting vehicular access to roads at peak times.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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