REGIONAL: Sniffer dogs to be brought into Hampshire schools and colleges

SPECIALIST dog units are to be used in Hampshire schools and colleges as part of a drug crackdown.

Saturday, 16th June 2018, 4:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 4:53 pm
Sniffer dogs will be brought into Hampshire schools in a drug crackdown

School bosses say the animals will be deployed mainly as a deterrent, but add they are concerned over access to drugs by students.

This comes as 13 schools across the New Forest have joined together to develop the ‘drug prevention and substance misuse strategy’.

Called Hampshire Safe, the partnership has been created to educate and warn students about the dangers of drugs.

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Brockenhurst College principal Di Roberts said: ‘Deterrents will be a part of the partnership and we will, from time to time, use specialist dogs to detect any drugs that may have been brought onto our sites.

‘Although none of our schools and colleges have a serious problem with drug misuse we are determined to keep it that way. Our overriding message is that we will do everything we can to protect our young people. Prevention will be the main key to this and we will be educating our young people to the dangers of drugs.’

She added: ‘As headteachers and principals we all share a common concern of the dangers that drugs can present to our students.’

Nigel Pressnell, headteacher of The Arnewood School, said: ‘Our schools and colleges are all based in rural or semi-rural areas, but the reality is that even here there are concerns over the access to drugs in our communities.

‘As schools and colleges, we play an important role alongside parents and the police in educating and preventing our young people from falling victims to drug misuse.

‘We believe as a partnership we are even stronger in this fight in safeguarding our students from harm.’

The partnership involves Noadswood School, Ringwood School, New Forest Academy, The Arnewood School, The Burgate School, Totton College, Brockenhurst College, Eaglewood School, Applemore College, Priestlands School, Greenwood School, Testwood School and Hounsdown School.

Inspector Paul Beale, of Hampshire police, said: ‘We welcome and support the robust action being taken by New Forest schools and colleges to tackle drug misuse. We will continue to work closely with schools to educate students.’

The initiative will initially be launched in school assemblies and with a social media campaign aimed specifically at students.