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St Mary's High School headteacher’s concern in aftermath of knife threat

Headteacher of St Mary's Catholic High School, Philip Mooney.
Headteacher of St Mary's Catholic High School, Philip Mooney.
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The headteacher of a Leyland school has voiced concerns with the police response time to claims that boys armed with knives were making their way to campus, after it took almost an hour and a half for officers to arrive on the scene.

At 2:15pm on Wednesday (January 25) a member of staff from St Mary’s Catholic High School called Lancashire Police regarding concerns that two boys, not believed to be pupils, may be attending the school potentially armed with knives.

The school was placed into lock-down at 2:10pm due to the potentially imminent threat – a threat which was later proved to be a false alarm.

In a statement, the headteacher at St Mary’s Catholic High School, Philip Mooney, said: “It is regrettable that despite numerous calls to the police, their response time went beyond the end of the school day.” The school day ends at 3pm.

Chief Inspector Mike Adamson, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “We are aware of an incident at St Mary’s High School yesterday in which a decision was taken by the school to keep children inside after concerns that two boys, not believed to be pupils, may be attending the school potentially armed with knives.

“It is regrettable that having received the call from the school at 2.15pm we were unable to attend until 3.35pm, resulting in the pupils being kept inside school for over an hour.

“This was due to an error with the way in which the call was graded and the resources that we deployed.

“We recognise that this report will have caused concern amongst staff, pupils and parents and apologise for any further upset caused by this delay.

“I would like to reassure people that when officers attended, the boys were spoken to and searched. They were not found in possession of any knives and there was not deemed to be a risk to any of the children’s safety.

“It is believed that the boys had gone to meet friends who are St Mary’s pupils.

“We are satisfied that no criminal offences were committed.”

Requests for a further statement from Philip Mooney were declined.