Friday, 30 October 2009

Redbridge College - Meeting with the Deputy Principal.

I attended a very honest and frank meeting with a Mr Snailham the Deputy Principal of Redbridge College on Tuesday 27th October 2009. At the meeting Mr Snailham advised me of the real details of what transpired during the recent incident at the college.

The incident occurred after a minor skirmish involving 3 or 4 male students in the college. Mobile phone calls were made and within minutes a large group of youths with a number of weapons including a blade arrived - ready to instigate violence. In the incident a college student was injured and 6 arrests were made by the Police of which 5 boys from the group are to be tried for various criminal offences.

The reason that so many students were evacuated from the college was not due to the knife incident. For an unknown reason, the fire alarm had inadvertently been triggered and to date the college cannot identify the reason for the alarm ringing. If I was to speculate, it would seem that it was intentionally triggered as a ruse to find the victim, or to cause confusion for a quick getaway. Whatever the purpose, it did make dealing with the incident significantly more difficult for the college. The staff and students acted calmly in order to return to normal tackling both issue with confidence and professionalism. The police have been very positive about the Colleges input.

The College has been very co-operative with the local Police and have already signed up to the Redbridge Weapons Protocol devised by the Local Police for local schools (since September 2008). They even made some generic amendments to the contract to incorporate colleges and other establishments joining the scheme. They have instigated previous knife arch audits without any finds and will continue their membership to the scheme. I should reiterate, the weapons brought to the college site, were carried by external youths.

The college has made it their focus to return to a normal state and have been liaising with residents, parents and pupils alike to reassure them of safety within the college. It seems their reassurance have worked as Pupils have returned. The partnership with the Local Police who increased their visibility and their deterrent affect accordingly - should be praised and all thanks to Sgt Lowrie and his team. The deputy Principal praised the police for their efforts:
"The police response was rapid and provided an effective deterrent to any repaet incident. It was good to see local police engaging with youth"

Redbridge College has previously held a Gun and Knife Crime event and hold them bi-annually with another event planned for the Spring term

I have been asked to source information on a potential community event held by the College on the local green and hope soon to be able to assist them towards an event next year. The intent is to give something back to the local community and to enable the college students to gain experience in putting an event on. I will keep you all informed on progress.

Thank you


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