The Metropolitan Police is to face legal action over the governance of so-called Safer Schools Officers across London amidst concerns that their presence could have ‘disproportionately negative consequences’ for black and minority ethnic groups.
The case, bought on behalf of the family of a black autistic boy of who was investigated by the CPS after he got into a verbal altercation with a member of staff, argues that the Metropolitan Police (Met) has failed to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty while deploying officers in schools.
While it does not challenge the principle of deploying police officers in schools, Solicitors acting for the family say it highlights ‘significant concerns’ over the failure to monitor, assess and understand the equalities implications of putting police officers in schools in London.
The move comes after the High Court granted permission for a Judicial Review to go ahead earlier this week, with a substantive hearing expected later in the year.
Dan Rosenberg, an Education Law Solicitor at Simpson Millar who is representing the family said, “Deploying police officers in schools may have benefits for students and the wider school community, and no one is disputing that, least of all our client.
“However, it was important to clarify whether the presence of police officers in schools may have disproportionality negative consequences for black and ethnic minority boys and/or children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities, causing them to be drawn into the criminal justice system unnecessarily.
“It is of obvious importance that the Met understands, monitors and addresses the equality implications of deploying police officers in schools. It simply cannot be done without the collection and analysis of relevant data.
“The Metropolitan Police has not done that in relation to its use of Safer Schools Officers, and this is what we hope will be addressed as part of the Judicial Review.”
Sarah Hannett and Aidan Wills from Matrix Chambers are involved in this case, instructed by Dan Rosenberg of Simpson Millar.