Leicester police begin anti-truancy patrols
Children out in Leicester on school days could be stopped by police as part of an anti-truancy campaign.
From this week patrols will challenge young people and those without a good reason for their absence will be taken back to school.
They will also notify the Education Welfare Service who may take the further steps, including legal action.
Despite improvements last year, Leicester still has some truancy rates which are above the national average.
Pc Ian Edwards, youth involvement officer for the city, said: "I think sometimes youngsters fail to see the seriousness of being absent from school and it's vital that we get the message out there - truancy is not acceptable.
"Truancy can also lead to further issues in a community, at worst resulting in the youngsters becoming involved in crime, as a victim or offender. This is something that we want desperately to avoid."
The initiative is ongoing but will be reviewed at the end of the current term in mid-April.
The most recent figures showed "persistent absentees" from city and county primary schools dropped by more than 22%, while the number of secondary pupils playing truant regularly fell by 18%.
But rates for primary school absences in Leicester were at 2.6%, still well above the average for England of 1.8%.