England

Reports to Thames Valley Police about violence in schools double

The number of violent incidents in schools reported to Thames Valley Police more than doubled last year.

A Freedom of Information request revealed there were 634 reports in the 2015-16 financial year, compared with 316 the year before.

Police said the rise could have been caused by changes over which incidents schools can deal with internally.

An education expert called the figures "worrying" and said police needed to identify the reason for the increases.

John Howson, who is also a former teacher, said: "I'm extremely worried about these figures - the doubling of the violence against a person, whatever source it is or however minor."

'Dedicated schools officers'

Thames Valley Police said more incidents were now included in their figures after the Home Office clarified a policy about what must be investigated.

It added: "Recorded violent crime went up in the Thames Valley overall last year by 30% so we would anticipate an increase in violence in schools as well.

"All schools in Thames Valley have contact with police through either dedicated schools officers or neighbourhood policing teams.

"Their approach is one of preventing young people from entering the criminal justice system rather than criminalising them."

In January a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers showed that, nationally, 43% of teachers four out of 10 teachers had to deal with physical violence in the past year.

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