Police and Crime Commissioner says truancy police won’t come knocking on doors

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Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye

Bedfordshire’s PCC doesn’t believe he needs to change his message despite some parents’ concerns that police officers will be knocking on their doors if their child is missing school.

“With any policy at the local level, or the national level, you can’t deal with every possible exception at the announcement stage,” the PCC said.

“I don’t think there was anything wrong with [the message], I think the vast majority of the public, the overwhelming majority of the public, saw very clearly what we’re doing.

The PCC said the scheme is about reducing the instances when police officers are doing “non-police” jobs.

“That is, to be quite blunt, one of the reasons why the public does not see as much of the uplift in police officers in their communities,” he said.

“Because too many of them are doing non-police jobs, because they’ve got no choice – and I’m going to fix that.”

A pupil being absent from school will still generate a phone call or text message to the responsible adult.

With the scheme there will also be a home visit by a youth worker to “enhance” the process of getting the young person back into education or training, and to check the child’s welfare.

“But despite me putting this out there, you’ve still got some of these parents say ‘you’re going to start having the police come to knock on my door’,” he said.

“So what more can I do to explain that actually what we’re doing here is to remove the police from this,” he asked.

“We’re moving more towards a trauma informed, child informed, resolution of the issues that’s causing a child to miss school.

“And eventually what could probably happen is finding out from the child and parents that there’s actually an issue with SEND statements, or care plans.

“Or something the school doesn’t even know about,” he explained.

“Thankfully the majority of the public see what we’re trying to do, and overwhelmingly, overwhelming without a single exception (yet), every single school wants to be a part of this pilot,” he said.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter 

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