Police to keep log of excluded pupils to prove link to violent crime
West Midlands Police is to become the first force in the country to keep records of children excluded from school in a bid to clamp down on youngsters being lured into criminality.
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson is behind the move, which he says will provide evidence of the link between school expulsions and violent crime.
It comes after senior police figures including Mr Jamieson have hit out at the process of off-rolling, where schools often exclude pupils they find difficult or don't believe will achieve decent exam results.
The PCC – who says he wants to see schools involved fined up to £50,000 – said excluded children were frequently found to be involved in criminal gangs and county lines networks.
He said: "I've asked the force to provide that concrete evidence that children who are excluded from school are getting involved in serious violence.
"Anecdotally we know it is true, but this is about demonstrating it. The National Crime Agency say that 100 per cent of children involved in county lines are excluded children.
"We are the first force to be actually doing this. It's a step forward, because what we will have is that evidence that we can take locally to discuss how we are going to deal with it, but also nationally to central government."
Mr Jamieson, a former teacher, held a summit in March which brought together 180 education professionals and representatives of youth groups, many of whom raised concerns about exclusions.
It comes after the Timpson review called for schools to be held accountable for the progress of any pupils they exclude.
"I am pleased that after campaigning on this issue for some time the government seems to be listening," he added.
"I raised this issue directly with the Secretary of State for Education at the Prime Minister's Youth Violence Summit at 10 Downing Street earlier this year.
"In extreme circumstances I still believe ring-fenced fines should be placed upon the worst offending schools. The fines should follow off-rolled pupils into alternative education provision.
"The most important thing is that the government gets on with the implementation of this report and focus on ending the practice of off-rolling."
Addressing the issue at a meeting of the Strategic Policing and Crime Board, Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: "Young people who are outside of mainstream care, or mainstream education, become vulnerable to being 'looked after' by other people.
"My intention is to try and collate more information on this. I don't think there is a silver bullet around violent crime. There isn't one thing that will resolve this, it is lots of things."