23 January 2015
Warwickshire Police Statement To Schools In Nuneaton And Bedworth
"Since the 14th January, 2015 there have been 15 separate reports made by school pupils in the Nuneaton area concerning suspicious individual(s) they have encountered on their journey to or from school.
The volume of calls appears to have escalated earlier this week following local newspaper and radio coverage of an alleged incident on Friday 16th January. This involved a 9-year-old boy from St Anne’s Roman Catholic School on Camp Hill Drive in Nuneaton. He was reportedly followed by the occupant of a white van in Cedar Road Nuneaton at 8am while he was walking to school. This matter was reported to police and is currently being investigated by detectives from Nuneaton CID.
Nuneaton CID are currently reviewing all investigations relating to the15 reports received to date. At this stage it is not possible to say if any of these reported incidents are linked. It is fair to say, however, that none involve the commission or attempted commission of any criminal offences.
Many of the calls received this week have been made by or on behalf of pupils from Higham Lane School. Officers from Nuneaton Safer Neighbourhood Team have been engaging with staff at the school to provide appropriate advice and to offer reassurance on proposed police activity.
We are aware of a Facebook petition which appears to have been set up in response to the incident in Cedar Road (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stand-together-for-our-children). This petition calls for more police presence outside schools in the area before and after school. This has received some support locally which has also been picked up by the media.
Warwickshire Police are very aware that parents who have children attending schools in the area will be concerned about any potential risks to them while they are travelling to or from school. We have, therefore implemented a high visibility patrol strategy with immediate effect in the Weddington and St Nicholas Park area before and after school which will continue into next week (w/c Monday 26th January). This is the geographic area where the majority of reports have been received. This will, I hope, provide reassurance to parents, pupils and schools alike.
We are also conscious that the schools themselves will have similar concerns and will want to give the right advice/messages to both pupils and parents. I have, therefore, asked my Safer Neighbourhood Team officers to actively engage with schools in the above areas to ensure staff are appraised of all relevant information. I would urge any other schools in Nuneaton not located within these geographic areas to make contact with their local Safer Neighbourhood Team should they require further advice.
Finally I would like to reassure parents, pupils and schools that any reports of suspicious activity involving person(s) or vehicles(s) which occur within the vicinity of local schools will be taken very seriously and will be investigated robustly.
Safer Neighbourhood Inspector
Nuneaton and Bedworth
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