Body-cams given to school crossing patrols after alarming child hit-and-run cases

Date published: 09 July 2024

A shocking attack on a staff member and two hit-and-run incidents involving children has prompted the council to trial body-worn cameras for school crossing patrols.

The initiative, which aims to deter reckless drivers and ensure the safety of both children and crossing guards, follows a recent incident where a four-year-old boy was struck by a car that failed to stop at a crossing on Hartley Lane and Daventry Road on 16 May.

The following week, on 21 May, a car queuing in traffic on Kiln Lane, Milnrow reversed into an 11-year-old girl, as she was crossing the road. The driver was attempting to beat the traffic by cutting through a nearby estate. Fortunately, neither child was seriously injured.

On Thursday 6 June, a motorist assaulted a school crossing patrol officer as she was setting up on the corner of Edenfield Road and Churchill Street. 

The male driver pulled up in his car, got out and punched the woman, leaving her with a mark on her face, before driving off. The staff member has recovered and returned to work.

All three incidents have been reported to Greater Manchester Police.

Councillor Shah Wazir, cabinet member for facilities and highways at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “I’m appalled by these incidents.

"That’s why we’re not hesitating to put extra protection measures in place and send the message out that this behaviour is completely unacceptable. This aggression and impatience from drivers has now led to two young children being clipped by cars and culminated in a physical attack on one of our members of staff while she was doing her job. We’re extremely fortunate that none of these incidents left somebody with serious injuries, or worse.”

The council is now set to trial body worn cameras at crossing points where officers report high levels of fail to stop activity. It is hoped they will help to deter aggressive drivers and also ensure that evidence to support prosecutions can be gathered in the event of an incident taking place.

It is an offence to continue to fail to stop at a school crossing. This applies from the moment the school crossing patrol has lifted their lollipop stick to indicate that they are ready to step into the road. Failure to stop can incur penalty points and a fine of up to £1,000.

Councillor Wazir added: “We report every incident to police and will not hesitate to support prosecutions. We simply will not tolerate any more of this appalling behaviour that we’ve witnessed from a small number of drivers in recent months.

"The very least that our children, their parents and carers and our staff should be able to expect is that they can go about their business safely and without fear of harm.”

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