B16 Offensive Weapons by r2XDMtZ2


                           OFFENSIVE WEAPONS

Reference Points

‘Screening and Searching of Pupils for Weapons: Guidance for School Staff’ DfES
2007 – supplement to:
‘School Security – Dealing with Troublemakers’ DfES 1997

Contact Points

If urgent or life-threatening tel. 999 or 112
Otherwise tel. Lincolnshire Police Control Centre (01522 532222)


This guidance is to advise schools on:
   - the power to screen pupils for weapons without suspicion
   - the statutory power for headteachers and staff they authorise, to search
      pupils without consent, when they have reasonable grounds for suspecting
      that a pupil has a knife or other weapon. It is not a legal duty and should
      only be used when considered safe to do so.

No-Contact or Low-Contact Screening

Schools can require pupils to undergo screening for weapons without suspicion
and without consent, by a walk-through or hand-held metal detector (arch or wand)
– this does not involve ‘patting down’, though it may involve minimal contact of the
wand with the pupil’s clothing.

Where a school decides to screen, it is recommended that it is occasional
screening on-site of randomly selected groups of pupils – e.g. a class or year
group – in order to deter. It is also recommended that screening all pupils on entry
to the school should only be done in exceptional circumstances and for limited

If a pupil refuses to be screened, the school may refuse to have the pupil on the
premises or on an off-site educational visit. If you do not admit the pupil for this
reason, it should be recorded as an unauthorised absence and not an exclusion.

Pupils can be screened in full view of other pupils. Staff should require pupils to
remove from their pockets, before screening, any metallic object that could cause a

Without-Consent Search

      The statutory power to search applies where there are reasonable grounds
       for suspecting that a pupil has in his/her possession any of the following and
       where other options have been exhausted:

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   -   Any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed. The definition does not
       include a folding pocket knife other than one whose cutting edge exceeds 3
       inches or one which is not readily foldable at all times (e.g. a locking knife).
   -   Any article made or adapted to injure a person or any article with which it is
       intended that another person will be injured:-
           o A weapon made for causing injury e.g. a gun
           o An article adapted for causing injury e.g. a bottle broken for the
           o Any other article with which the person carrying it intends to cause
              injury e.g. a baseball bat

Where staff suspect a pupil is carrying a weapon, they can seek to allay or confirm
their suspicion by questioning the pupil.

This power includes the power to search where there are reasonable grounds to
suspect that a pupil is in innocent possession of such a weapon.

Searching Pupils

      A headteacher needs no authorisation to conduct a weapons search without
       consent. Other school staff must be authorised by their headteacher before
       they can do so.
      Two members of staff must be present and must be of the same sex as the
       pupil being searched. The ‘second person present’ at a search should be
       authorised and trained to search. In some cases other staff may also be
       present e.g. an adult with expertise on the pupil’s particular Special
       Educational Needs or with knowledge of the pupil’s religious or cultural
       sensitivities. It may be helpful in some situations for the pupil’s parents to be
       present, although schools are not required in law to inform a parent before a
       search, or to seek parental consent.
      A pupil’s possessions can be searched without consent (and must be
       witnessed). The searcher and/or the witness need not be the same sex as
       the pupil. The pupil must be present.
      Whenever possible, a search should be carried out in a private area i.e. with
       only those adults present who are required to be.
      Staff should take proportionate steps to preserve the pupil’s dignity and be
       sensitive to any particular Special Educational Needs the pupil may have
       e.g. a pupil with learning difficulties may need simpler and clearer
       instructions prior to the search, or e.g. boys who are Sikhs might carry, as a
       religious duty, a ceremonial knife and he should be asked to declare it
       before the search continues.
      The power to search on suspicion and without consent enables a personal
       search, involving removal of outer clothing and searching pockets, but not
       an intimate search.
      A searcher can pat down pupils’ clothing, without directly touching the body.
       If, during the search an object is found in e.g. a trouser pocket, the pupil can
       be asked to bring it out and show it. If the pupil refuses, or alleges assault,
       the search should stop and the police called.

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      A searcher can require the pupil to remove outer clothing if necessary.
       ‘Outer clothing’ means any item of clothing that is being worn otherwise than
       wholly next to the skin or immediately over a garment being worn as
       underwear; e.g. includes coat, pullover, hat, shoes, scarf and gloves. If the
       pupil refuses, the searcher can use reasonable force to remove the outer
       clothing. However, staff should be mindful that a search can be stopped at
       any point and the police called. We would recommend that, unless the pupil
       is co-operative throughout, staff should always call the police to carry out a
       search where it is suspected that the pupil is in possession of an offensive
      A searcher should not require or themselves attempt to remove any other
       clothing e.g. trousers, sari, skirt.
      If the person carrying out the search finds a suspected legal weapon, s/he
       may seize and retain it. If a suspected illegal weapon is seized, it must be
       delivered to the police as soon as is reasonably practicable.

School Policy

Headteachers planning to use these powers should consult with their governors
and staff, and establish it as a policy to sit alongside policies on behaviour and on
physical handling. It should include –
    A reminder for pupils and parents that it is a criminal offence to have a knife
      or offensive weapon in school and that the penalties on conviction can be
    Information about how, when a pupil is suspected of carrying an offensive
      weapon but school staff decide to call the police instead of using the power
      to search, school staff will manage the pupil in order to keep the other pupils
      and staff reasonably safe until the police arrive.

The school’s Profile should include information about these security measures in
the narrative section about Health & Safety.

The school policies can ban folding penknives, which can cause harm.
Schools can screen pupils for these.

Action Points

See attached appendix which is a copy of the red posters which have previously
been sent to all schools.

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                          OFFENSIVE WEAPONS

                    TAKING POSSESSION OF AN


                     GUIDANCE NOTES
1.   ALL Staff hold a responsibility to respond in the agreed manner in
               situations involving an offensive weapon

      Members of staff will take possession of knives or other weapons,
      having consideration of the risk to themselves and others.

2.   The designated place for securing items in your premises is:

3.   On receipt of information that an inappropriate weapon is on the
     premises staff must follow for DfES guidance contained in the folder:



               Arrange without delay to surrender the item to the police


               Where satisfied and reasonable to do so arrange for the
               weapon to be taken away by the parent or guardian.

               Consider informing the Police who may consider attending
               immediately or at a later date.

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           Whichever course of action is followed:

                For the security of staff confiscation should be
                witnessed / collaborated by a member of staff

                 Item placed into secure place (see overleaf)

               Detail of the confiscated item to be entered into the
                        OFFENSIVE WEAPONS REGISTER

        Consider the need to seek assistance from medical services

    Endure the INCIDENT FORM along with the Police Incident Number,
               Where relevant, is completed and filed in the
         OFFENSIVE WEAPONS REGISTER FILE which is held in

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                Procedures for contacting Police for

    1.    DIAL         01522 532222
          Lincolnshire Police Control Centre

    2.    If the incident is urgent / life threatening and an immediate
          response is required, then consider dialling
          999 or 112

    3.    The following information will be required in the order as
          given below:

           A. Information about the incident. What has happened / is
              happening? Details about whether the offender is at the
              scene and / or any weapon.
           B. Specifics on the location of the incident.
           C. The name of the caller and position held.
           D. The address of the premises and contact details
              of the caller

    4.    Ensure you obtain the unique reference number for this
          incident which will be a maximum of three digits plus the date
          of the offence. Example: Incident No. Date    Month

    5.    If injuries are known or suspected consider informing
           the Emergency Services

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                     TAKING POSSESSION OF AN
                  OFFENSIVE WEAPON

                                             Police Incident Number
       INCIDENT SHEET                   Number      Date         Month

 Date of Incident ________________
 Day of Week ___________________       Time __________________

 Member of Staff Reporting Incident

 Name ____________________________________

 Address __________________________________


 Position __________________________________

 Name of Client / Pupil

 Name ____________________________________

 Address __________________________________


 Date of Birth _________________ Client / Pupil Ref. No. ________________

 Detail of weapon / description

 Location of confiscated item

 Witnessed by ___________________________________________________

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                      TAKING POSSESSION OF AN
                  OFFENSIVE WEAPON


 Police Involvement               YES / NO

 Item Collected by Parent         YES / NO

                                Date       /     /       Time       :     am/pm

 Witnessed by ____________________ Position Held ____________________

 Signed __________________________

 Outcome – Legal or other action taken

       Please ensure that this form is fully completed and filed in the
                                   held in

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