Leading grammar school hires security guard after pupils are repeatedly mugged at the gates

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Maureen Cobbett, headteacher at The Latymer School in Edmonton, north London, has warned the children are being targeted at the school gates

One of the country’s leading grammar schools has hired a security guard to protect pupils from a spate of muggings.

The Latymer School in Edmonton, north London, which was founded in 1624 and counts Sir Bruce Forsyth among its alumni, said they have taken the drastic measure as a way to improve security.

The local MP has blamed cuts to front line policing for forcing the school to seek private security, as she said she has complained to the borough commander.

Maureen Cobbett, the school’s headteacher, has written to parents urging them to write to their local MP to raise the alarm about the “high number” of muggings that pupils have been subjected to.

The Latymer School, which is one of the top state schools in the country, sends dozens of pupils on to Oxford, Cambridge and other top universities. 

“It would appear that it is the same group of four or five boys who have been permanently excluded from their schools who are carrying out the muggings,” Ms Cobbett told parents. “We were able to pass on the name of one of the suspects to the police.” 

She added that pupils from the nearby Aylward Academy have also been subjected to attacks.

Ms Cobbett said that the school has employed a security guard to patrol around the school, initially up to February half term, with Latymer Parents and Friends group paying for half of the cost.

She also warned that students are failing to take the matter seriously, explaining that “despite our warnings, we still see them leaving school with phones out, headphones in, taking side-roads”.

Ms Cobbett said pupils are failing to follow her advice to walk purposefully, in groups and to keep to the main roads.

Kate Osamor, the Labour MP for Edmonton, said: “Parents in my constituency, who are understandably concerned, have contacted me, and I have raised the issue with the Borough Commander.

“Effective policing must be the long-term answer, but sadly this is another example of police cuts damaging our community in Edmonton, and putting our children at risk.”  

The Latymer School is in the borough of Enfield which has the highest rate of serious youth violence in the capital, according to the latest figures from the Metropolitan Police.

 A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “We are aware of reports that a number of robberies appearing to target students have taken place in the vicinity of both schools over recent months and are committed to tackling this issue.

“Dedicated Safer Schools and Neighbourhood Officers are now carrying out high-visibility patrols outside both schools at peak times.

 “Officers from central teams, including the Violent Crime Taskforce, have also been joining our local officers to increase these visible patrols across the borough.”

The spokesman said that their “Safer Schools” officer recently held a meeting with the heads of both The Latymer School and Aylward Academy to discuss next steps.

 They added that a dedicated robbery focus unit was set up last summer and has so far made over 120 arrests.

 The head of one of London’s biggest academy chains has previously told how teachers are patrolling the streets and getting on buses to accompany children home, in a bid to combat knife crime.

Pupils making their way to and from school can become targets for gangs and drug dealers so need extra protection at these hours, according to Sir Dan Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, a multi-academy trust that runs 46 schools in and around London.

For the original article see here

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