PUPILS in east London have set up their own inquiry into street crime after worrying numbers of children were mugged on their way to and from school.
Pupils at Norlington boys' comprehensive in Leyton, Waltham Forest, decided action was needed in June, when eight pupils were being robbed every day. One 16-year-old was attacked on his way to take a GCSE and was sick during the examination.
In response the children set up the Norlington Inquiry with teachers, parents and community workers. Baroness Richardson of Calow became its chair.
One of the school's leading campaigners, 15-year-old Duncan McLean, who has been invited to become a consultant to Scotland Yard, was motivated by seeing a friend being mugged. "We were set upon by thee boys. They pushed me out of the way and attacked my friend, slapping and punching him. Then they stole his wallet and ran away."
The group has produced a report which called for a neighbourhood watch zone around the school, a media campaign and extra closed-circuit television cameras. It was presented to David Muir, chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority.
As mobile phones were found to be the muggers' main target, the inquiry suggested a borough-wide conference to discourage pupils from bringing them into school and from using them in public.
There has been a marked drop in muggings to just a handful a month. "The muggers realise there's no point hanging around because of the risk of getting caught," said Duncan.