More than 40 children stopped in two hours during truancy patrols

West Yorkshire Police truancy patrols
West Yorkshire Police truancy patrols

MOre than 40 children were questioned in just two hours about why they were not at school as truancy officers targeted areas of Castleford and Pontefract.

The neighbourhood policing teams from both towns, along with the Pontefract Academies Trust conducted the patrol last Thursday afternoon as part of an initiative to raise school attendance.

Heading out in pairs, they patrolled Pontefract town centre, Xscape, Junction 32 shopping village, Valley Gardens and surrounding housing estates, stopping unaccompanied youngsters.

The 42 children stopped were all aged between four and 17, with 70 per cent of them being of primary school age.

They were from 12 different schools, while two were supposed to be home educated, three were new to the area and had not be registered with a school and three were from the travelling community.

Beverley Riley of Pontefract Academies Trust said: “Work needs to be done to change the attitude of parents allowing children to be absent from school.

“These bad habits are difficult to change once children transfer to high school without ever having been in a good school routine.

“Knowingly failing to ensure your children attend school regularly is an imprisonable offence.”

A police spokesman said: “Those questioned will receive a letter and a copy of the letter will be forwarded to their school.

“A repeat of the patrol will be organised in the near future.”