Student found with secateurs as police make unannounced visits to East Northants' schools
Specialist trained police dogs also detected a number of students had been around drugs within the past few days
Members of East Northants Neighbourhood Policing Team have been educating students on the dangers of drugs, knife crime and gangs during a series of unannounced visits.
The team were joined by colleagues from the force’s dog section for the visits to secondary schools in Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough, Oundle and Raunds last week.
Specialist search police dogs PD Charlie and PD Flint walked around the classrooms and communal areas of Rushden Academy, Huxlow Science College, Ferrers School, Prince William School and Manor School, to see if there was anything untoward which needed sniffing out.
The police team's sergeant Leigh-Francoise Goodwin said: “This was the second time we made unannounced visits following the success of our operation in May.
“Once again the schools were great in facilitating our visits and provided their full support.
"Although they were not expecting us, the students were very positive as PD Charlie and PD Flint searched their classrooms.
“The visits weren’t designed to scare students or make them feel like they were in trouble, but instead to educate them at a time of life when they are making choices which will determine the rest of their future.
“While there was no drug finds, the dogs detected a number of students had been around drugs within the past few days, and one student was found in possession of a pair of garden secateurs.
“These students have been referred to the Force CIRV programme for some early intervention work to ensure they understand the dangers carrying weapons or taking drugs and hopefully make the right choice in choosing to stop.
“We are working hard to support the schools with prevention work around drugs and to provide a clear message which will hopefully mean these students choose to live lives free of drugs and violence.”
PD Charlie and PD Flint were joined by police officers and PCSOs to educate the students about the dangers of drugs and put in safeguarding measures to provide further support where necessary.
Letters were sent to all the parents of students at the schools at the beginning of the academic year in October, to explain how a drugs dog would visit the schools unannounced and what it would mean if their child was found in possession of illicit items.
Following the visits, three of the schools commented.
The Ferrers School assistant principal Kerry York said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Northamptonshire Police into our school.
"Police dogs, Charlie and Flint, worked tirelessly around the school visiting lessons and the boundaries of the school.
"The officers discussed with our students the use and handling of drugs and the carrying of weapons - this has sent a clear message to our students about the consequences and implications should they choose to bring drugs or weapons on to the school site or into the community.
"We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with the officers in helping to safeguard our students from harm and developing their education in this area.”
Rushden Academy vice principal Roy Middleton said: “During a number of visits to classrooms and walking through the corridors of the school, PD Flint was able to provide a strong message to our school community about the dangers of drugs and helping ensure Rushden Academy remains a drug free and a safe place for all.
"Rushden Academy would like to say thank you to Flint and Northamptonshire Police for their support.”
Huxlow Science College assistant headteacher Laura Gauvrit said: “We continue to work closely with local police and other schools in East Northants to raise the profile to young people of the dangers of drugs.
"This is the second time we have worked together specifically with drugs dogs coming onto the school site.
"The dogs were amazing and created lots of discussion for staff and students alike.
"The police presence acts as reassurance to the whole community that we recognise the negative impact of drugs on individuals, their families and people close to them.
"It also sends the message that we are here to support those in need and will protect our community; while not tolerating the presence of harmful illegal substances.”