Skip to main content

Schools (Weapons Screening)

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

Schools must be safe places for both pupils and staff. Incidents involving knives and other weapons in school are rare, but we need to give headteachers stronger powers to act if they suspect a knife or another weapon is in their school. The Violent Crime Reduction Bill, currently being debated at Report stage in the House of Lords includes new powers for head teachers to search pupils if the heads suspect their pupils are carrying a weapon.

We will also provide guidance for schools on screening all their pupils for weapons using technology such as airport style walk-through metal detecting arches or hand held metal detecting wands. Screening can be carried out on all pupils, without their consent and without suspicion that a weapon might be found, provided it is carried out in a way that respects pupils' privacy. If screening indicates a weapon may be present, school staff could then use the new power included in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill (VCRB) to carry out a hands-on search. We plan to issue full guidance to schools on screening and hands-on searches if the VCRB receives Royal Assent.