What are the aims of a Safer School Partnership?

The four aims of a Safer School Partnership (SSP) have developed since their creation in 2006. This article explores what each aim means in practice and how success can be measured.

1. Provide positive engagement to build trust and confidence between the school community (Young people, school staff and parents) and the police.

In practical terms, this means building and developing a good working relationship between the police and school community. This takes time, therefore a flexible approach is needed. However, the following is essential:
  • Good communication between the police and school staff to manage expectations and understanding the different working cultures and practices.
  • The SSO should be an integral part of the school team.
  • The SSO regularly being available on the school site to provide professional advice, to pupils, parents and staff.

Success can be measured through the following outcomes:
  • Police presence on school premises allows young people to become comfortable and familiar with police, and to build up trust.
  • Pupils have more confidence in how to get help if they need it.
  • Early on in a partnership, crime and safeguarding reporting will increase.

2. Improve safety and enhance safeguarding within the school and wider community.

Safer School Partnerships:
  • help keep pupils safe,
  • reduce the risk of young people getting drawn into crime or antisocial or extremist behaviour, 
  • improve the safety of the school site and surrounding area,
  • build positive relationships between pupils and the police,
  • promote shared values, and
  • improve community relations generally within the school and wider community.

Pupils who engage in crime or anti-social behaviour (ASB) can be dealt with quickly and appropriately to prevent unnecessary criminalisation, and pupils who feel threatened by such behaviour or crime can be supported. However, where behaviour fails to improve, or the behaviour is very serious then tougher enforcement measures may need to be used.

An SSP is a positive way for all schools to demonstrate their commitment to promoting a safe climate of learning and to preventing crime. Success can be measured through the following outcomes:
  • All pupils reporting feeling safer because there are positive relationships between police, partners, and pupils.
  • Reduced pupil or staff concern about hotspots on school site, hotspots after school and areas around the school.

3. Develop prevention strategies to help young people deal with risk and support victims of crime

In developing prevention strategies, it is essential:
  • To establish links to other local agencies engaged in the protection, safeguarding and wellbeing of young people which might include local authority child protection teams, Education welfare officers and attendance officers, children’s health services, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), youth offending teams and other youth services, local fire service and local voluntary and community groups.
  • Schools contribute to wider crime prevention objectives and police support schools as part of overall neighbourhood policing work.
  • A systematic evaluation of the SSP is conducted, which looks at what works and what can be improved.

Success can be measured through the following outcomes:
  • Pupils most at risk of causing harm are challenged or supported through early intervention services tackling issues of behaviour, attendance and/or mental health.
  • Pupils are more aware of risk factors to becoming victims and are more confident in how to avoid victimisation.
  • Pupils feel safer and more secure at school – measured via a confidence survey.
  • Pupils who become victims have support and advice on how to deal with it.
  • Reduced pupil or staff concern about hotspots on school site, school travel and school neighbourhood.

4. Early intervention and diversion promoting positive pathways for young people

In delivering early intervention and diversion, it is essential strategies are implemented to support challenging or vulnerable young people. These strategies should be worked out between the school and the police.

Success can be measured through the following outcomes:
  • Referrals in to local/national intervention and diversion schemes.
  • Referrals to other policing units such as Youth Offending Teams, Gangs and Prevent.
  • Referrals into the Volunteer Police Cadets.


Steven Sweeney BSc (Hons), MSc

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