'ello 'ello 'ello: teachers opt to join cops on night patrol
It is almost certainly not covered by the EU working-time directive, but teachers in North Tyneside have nonetheless agreed to night shifts that go way beyond the usual demands of a career at the chalkface.
School staff in Killingworth last month accepted the invitation of local police to join them on night patrols which aim to curb anti-social behaviour among young people.
Stephen Fallon, head of St Stephen's RC Primary School, was the first teacher to experience how the police deal with young offenders outside the classroom.
Mr Fallon said he was fascinated by the range of incidents police faced when dealing with young people, although there is a common trend in anti-social behaviour.
"It was mainly stopping youngsters from drinking," he said.
"They confiscated large quantities of alcohol. They also broke up large groups of loitering youngsters and sent them home if they were under the effects of alcohol.
"The police have a degree of empathy (for the children) but no tolerance for anti-social behaviour. Some youngsters have no respect for officers," he said.
"I was very impressed by how officers tackled some challenging and difficult situations through talking to youngsters and pointing out how their actions were having negative consequences."
Sergeant Mark Storey, of Killingworth Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "Tackling youth-related anti-social behaviour is one of our policing priorities here in Killingworth. We decided to invite local teachers to come out with us so they can see for themselves the nature of the problem and the work we do to resolve it."
St Stephen's is not the only school in the area to have signed up for the scheme, which will see staff accompany officers on patrols over the coming months.
Mr Fallon said it was important for schools, local councils and the police to work together to ensure that communities are safe places where people of all ages can engage effectively.
George Westwater, cabinet member for children, young people and learning at North Tyneside Council, said: "While the vast majority of young people in North Tyneside are well-behaved and do not create an anti-social nuisance, it is good that schools can work closely with Northumbria Police and their local communities in this way, to help ensure that North Tyneside remains a safe borough for all of its residents and visitors."