Rise in number of weapons found at schools in Norfolk

Picture of a child arriving at school. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Picture of a child arriving at school. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The number of weapons seized by police from Norfolk schools has doubled to 22, new figures reveal.

The figures from Norfolk Constabulary, released to the Press Association, say the weapons include items such as broom handles and golf clubs, as well as knives.

Police said the rise could be explained by a change in the way the incidents are recorded.

It comes as part of thousands of weapons seized from schools around the country - with samurai swords, axes and air guns among those confiscated.

Last year, a row broke out at Long Stratton High School after a pupil who was found on the premises with a 'bladed article' in November 2015 had his expulsion overturned by school governors.

A Freedom of Information request from Suffolk Constabulary reveals that, since 2012, 35 knives, six blades and one BB pistol gun has been found in schools in the county.

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The majority of cases around the country involved children, including some as young as five, according to figures released to the Press Association by police forces in England and Wales.

At least one in five incidents involved knives, while the data suggests an overall increase in the number of weapons found on school premises.

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Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders and former Suffolk headteacher, said: 'Schools work closely with the police to protect and educate their pupils, and in some cases police officers are stationed in schools.

'Where appropriate, schools conduct searches and use metal detectors, and they implement robust disciplinary procedures against anyone found in possession of a weapon.

'Young people are taught about the dangers of offensive weapons both in lessons and in talks delivered by invited speakers.'

Police chiefs said there had been a 'worrying' increase in young people carrying knives. They said police work with schools to help educate youngsters on why carrying any illegal weapon is wrong.

Press Association analysis of data from 32 police forces that gave figures showed there were 2,579 weapons found from the 2015/16 financial year to this year.

The number is likely to be much higher, when considering those forces that did not provide data, or offered only incomplete figures, under Freedom of Information laws.

In 2016/17 alone, among those that gave breakdowns, there were at least 1,369 weapons found - a rise of almost 20% on the previous year, despite this not covering a full 12-month period.

• Do you have an education story? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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