Random checks for banned items including weapons have been introduced at a Rotherhithe secondary school.
Bacon’s College, on Timber Pond Road, introduced the surprise screening for banned items on all of its students on Friday.
“This is to ensure that no student enters the school with any weapon or any item that could harm anyone else,” states a letter sent to parents by the school announcing the new policy.
“While we do not have any problem with weapons at Bacon’s, we believe that by being proactive and carrying out random screenings a clear message is sent to our students and families that Bacon’s College is a safe school for everyone.”
Alongside screening for weapons, the school said it would confiscate any banned items found during the searches such as fizzy drinks.
The screenings will continue at random times under the new policy, the letter states, and parents will not be warned beforehand.
However, they will be sent a text after to let them know that a screening has taken place.
James Wilson, the principal at Bacon’s College, told the News: “Like any good school we work closely with the police to ensure that issues that are prevalent in the wider community have no place in our school.
“The idea to conduct this exercise has not stemmed from any incident or issue pertinent to Bacon’s College but, as anyone in London knows, is something that is unfortunately relevant in the lives of too many young people across the city.
“We have seen exercises such as this successfully take place in other secondary schools – including in Southwark – and we believe they are a worthwhile means of ensuring we keep our students fully reminded about the dangers and risks of ever carrying weapons.”
A spokesperson from the Met’s Borough Commander’s office said weapon screenings have happened at two Southwark schools in the last six months, including Bacon’s College.
“Serious youth violence and knife crime have unfortunately been at the forefront of our priorities and weapon screening at schools is one of many tactics we employ to deter this,” said the spokesperson.
“They are done on an ad-hoc basis alongside school staff and are only carried out with school permission.”
There is no set criteria for the sweeps, which are offered to all schools in the borough.
This is “to show parents and pupils we are working in partnership to tackle knife crime and serious youth violence.”