Class A drugs supplied at Essex primary school police figures reveal
Exclusive: Suspects have been charged with supplying class A drugs at primary schools in Essex, it has been revealed.
A Freedom of Information request made by the East Anglian Daily Times to Essex Police revealed the force has investigated 122 drugs offences at education establishments since 2010.
The most shocking cases include someone charged with supplying heroin at an infant, junior or primary school in 2013 and someone investigated for supplying amphetamines, a class B drug, at the same type of school in 2011.
Someone was also given a warning for possessing cannabis at a nursery or creche in the county in 2012.
The schools involved have not been identified and the force cannot reveal who was involved.
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All but 15 of the cases involve possession of cannabis offences, while at least 32 were committed by youths.
Just more than half (62) of the offences were dealt with by a reprimand, caution or warning, while a further 25 received some form of community resolution.
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Someone was charged in 17 cases.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “It is disturbing to see evidence of any drug-related activities taking place in educational establishments.
“However it would be naive to believe this doesn’t go on as, for many years, some young people have been tempted to experiment with drugs.
“No-one can be in any doubt about the corrosive and damaging effect the abuse and dealing of illegal substances has on our communities, from victims of burglaries committed by addicts to fund their habits, to families of users who struggle to deal with the heartbreak of living with a drug-dependent loved-one.
“Whilst youngsters are in education police and partners must continue to engage with them to educate our young people of the harmful effects of taking drugs. There are many examples of this good work already taking place, and this is absolutely key to helping eradicate this problem from our communities.”
Ray Gooding, Essex county councillor for education, added: “The safety and wellbeing of our young people is of the utmost importance.
“We work with schools throughout Essex, along with partner agencies, to educate pupils on drug misuse.
“However, we are not complacent and as these figures demonstrate, there is still work to be done.”
Jerry Glazier, national executive member of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) for Essex, said: “The union fully supports the notion that schools should be safe places, not a place where drugs are passed around or dealt with.
“The practical reality is in some sections of the school population drugs will feature and I would expect schools to have very clear policies about not tolerating the use of drugs – they have an absolute obligation to do that as they would with any criminal offence which take place on the school premises.
“The important thing is schools are aware and embed within their PSHE programmes a clear appreciation of that and remind students of the dangers and damage drugs will do.”