What are the benefits of a SSP?

Benefits of a SSP

The message from research and delivery partners is clear – SSPs offer real benefits to schools, the police, young people and the wider community. These benefits can be seen particularly strongly in three main areas;

Reassurance and responsiveness
As a member of the school community, an SSO is a highly visible and approachable presence, on hand to advise on issues around crime, safety, and the law, and work with the school to diffuse any tensions or conflicts within the school community.

One of the key aims of the SSP programme is to build positive relationships between young people and police. Giving young people a chance to meet police officers in school, away from external influences, can help to foster these relationships. This can then have a knock on effect that benefits encounters between young people and the police in the wider community.

SSPs allow the sharing of innovative new approaches to crime prevention and safeguarding through improved communication between SSOs from different schools, who meet regularly to share ideas and discuss goals.

A police link at a school is useful in attracting a range of other external services. For example, officers from the Fire Brigade, or the local Ambulance Service, as well as officers from transport police, secure establishments, and community organisations can talk to children about life skills.

There are often concerns about the wellbeing or safety of a child in school. An effective SSP may improve access to or contact with appropriate services who can react to ensure the safety of the child and if necessary other members of the family. Similarly, an SSP should facilitate efficient and easy exchange of information about pupils at the school including those who are under the care of one of the partner external services.

Decisions about sharing personal information must be made on a case by case basis. Police and schools should have regard to current DfE guidance when dealing with children who are at risk.

Benefits for Pupils

Pupils will:
  • feel safer, knowing that a police officer is on hand to help resolve conflicts and respond to harmful behaviour;
  • learn more effectively as they grow more confident that they are safe in school;
  • find out how to avoid being drawn into crime and anti-social or extremist behaviour and learn more about what the police do in the community;
  • receive support if they have been victims of crime and learn new skills to avoid being victims and be safer on journeys to and from school; and
  • benefit from a positive role model through contact with the SSO.

Benefits for schools

Schools will:
  • see improved pupil behaviour, and potentially fewer exclusions and better academic achievement;
  • benefit from the professional expertise a police officer who can help to identify, challenge and support pupils most at risk of causing harm and offending;
  • receive support to identify and help pupils most susceptible to the messages of violent extremism and/or gang culture, if these are particular issues in the area;
  • benefit from the specialist support and advice the police can offer when staff have to deal with:
  • screening pupils for weapons;
  • dealing with intruders to the school, including any violent or abusive adults;
  • and dealing with incidents where physical force is needed to control or restrain a pupil;
  • integrate better within multi-agency teams, helping to support more effective interventions with pupils and families; and
  • develop better relations with the local community.

Benefits for parents

Parents will:
  • feel more confident about their children’s safety in school and on journeys to and from school;
  • be reassured that any particular tensions in the local community such as racism, gang culture or weapons issues will not be allowed to intrude on the school;
  • if their child is at risk of involvement in anti-social behaviour or crime, know that the police presence in school will help deal with this in an appropriate way;
  • be reassured that teachers have the support of police in ensuring good pupil behaviour and attendance, and in tackling crime; and
  • know that their child is being encouraged to trust the police and to take a responsible attitude towards issues around crime.

Benefits for the police

The police will:
  • see increased reporting of crime as a result of increased confidence in policing, enabling better identification of crime and ASB trends;
  • see improved public confidence in local policing as a result of the relationships built through SSPs;
  • see reductions in youth crime and anti-social behaviour, through identifying and dealing with issues at an early stage in school;
  • achieve improved efficiency and better use of police time in terms of prevention and early intervention;
  • be able to better support and monitor prolific and young offenders through working with schools and multi-agency teams;
  • be able to identify and support children and young people who feel threatened by crime and anti-social behaviour;
  • have the opportunity to talk to young people and listen to them about local crime concerns – including problems around gang culture or group offending, weapons carraige or risks from violent extremism; and
  • build better relationships with young people and their parents, which will have significant benefits in the wider community.

Benefits for local authorities and other partners

Local authorities and other partners will:
  • benefit from the impact that SSPs can have on helping them reach a number of local and national targets, including measures on public perceptions of safety;
  • benefit from effective exchange of information. Schools and children’s services working more closely with the police leads to more effective safeguarding arrangements; and
  • receive support for effective multi-agency working, including early intervention and prevention strategies with pupils and families and (as appropriate) local Prevent and Deter arrangements.


Steven Sweeney BSc (Hons), MSc

Metropolitan Police Service, Frontline Policing Delivery Unit, Youth Policy Team