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Report an incident at a school or college

Information for schools and college staff about when to call the police to an incident on their premises and how to report concerns about vulnerable children.

When an incident has occurred in which a crime has or may have been committed, the school or college will need to decide whether or not to involve the police.  

Many incidents can be dealt with and resolved internally and you should refer to your internal behaviour policies for guidance on how to deal with and record incidents.

Always record your decisions and the reasons for decisions and ensure parental cooperation is maintained throughout the process.

Safeguarding concerns

If a child is suffering or is likely to suffer from harm, make a referral to children’s social care immediately. Referrals should follow the local processes. You can also ring us on 101 (for non-emergencies) or 999 (for emergencies).

Step by step guidance for staff

  1. Step 1 : When to contact the police

    The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) has created guidance for schools and college staff for when to report incidents to the police.

    This guidance covers the following crimes:

    The context of the offence should always be taken into consideration and the vulnerabilities of those involved.

    All incidents, whether dealt with internally or reported to the police, should be shared with your local policing team who visit your school or college.

  2. Step 2 : How to report an incident

    Contact with the police should ideally be made by a single point of contact from the school. This may be the Head teacher or the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

    To report an incident:

  3. Step 3 : After you have told the police

    Once you have reported the incident to the police:

    • Stop your own investigation once you have asked enough questions to establish the basic facts of the incident.
    • Make every effort to preserve evidence.
    • Fully document any initial enquiries as they may be required if the matter goes to court.

    The victim in any incident should be supported and protected as a priority.

    Those suspected of being the offender will also need to be supported. There will often be circumstances in the young person’s life that are a contributing factor to the incident and it is important that they are taken into consideration.

Concerns about vulnerable children

If you are in a profession such as a teacher or social worker, you may be exposed to certain situations which you feel the police should be aware of concerning vulnerable people.

If you believe a child is vulnerable or being exploited, you can provide information using our suspected vulnerable person form.

For guidance around what intelligence is, especially in the context of child sexual and/or criminal exploitation, read the Capturing and Reporting Intelligence advice (PDF) from the Children’s Society and National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Your information will help us determine the level of risk to the child and allow us to take the appropriate action.

Resources for teachers and educators

View our list of resources for teachers and educators designed to help support and protect young people.

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