School brings in police sniffer dog to deter county lines drugs trade

Head teacher brings in police sniffer dog and random bag searches to stop county lines drugs coming into secondary school in genteel market town

  • Dog will be brought to Queen Elizabeth’s School in quiet Wimborne, in Dorset 
  • A PSCO will also search bags to ensure there are no banned substances on site
  • Mixed school of more than 1,500 pupils aged 13 to 18 is rated as Good by Ofsted 
  • Katie Boyes (pictured), headteacher of QE School, said: 'It is important to state that the use of a dog is not in reaction to an incident and there is not a drug problem at QE School.'

    Katie Boyes (pictured), headteacher of QE School, said: ‘It is important to state that the use of a dog is not in reaction to an incident and there is not a drug problem at QE School.’

    A highly-rated secondary school in a genteel market town is bringing in a police sniffer dog and random bag searches to tackle ‘county lines’ drugs, it has been revealed.

    The head of Queen Elizabeth’s School in Wimborne, Dorset, has warned parents in a letter of the upcoming enforcement measures.

    The ‘highly trained’ sniffer dog will be accompanied by its handler and will roam the classrooms, library and shared areas.

    There will also be a PCSO searching bags to ensure there are no banned substances, including tobacco, vapes and cigarettes, on site.

    The mixed school, which has over 1,500 pupils aged 13 to 18, is rated as Good by Ofsted.

    They said there is no ‘drug problem’ at the school but they are acting to ‘protect the pupils from the dangers of illicit drugs’.

    The hardline approach has been welcomed by some parents, although others have questioned whether it is right to ‘forewarn’ students as they will ‘now leave their stuff at home’.

    Michelle Lloyd said: ‘If no other good comes of it, it will be a deterrent during school hours.

    ‘It’s a large issue to tackle and I don’t think it will ever be stopped completely.

    The 'highly trained' sniffer dog will be accompanied by its handler and will roam the classrooms, library and shared areas (Stock image)

    The ‘highly trained’ sniffer dog will be accompanied by its handler and will roam the classrooms, library and shared areas (Stock image) 

    ‘Making it more awkward for people to use school kids is a good move forward.’

    However, Andrea Holloway responded: ‘Defeated the object now! Forewarning is forearming!

    ‘They should have said it will be happening not when. Teenagers are pretty savvy!!!!!’

    And one social media commenter said the measures were too heavy-handed as they made school like a ‘prison’.

    Cindy Lou said: ‘I think schools are going to far with sniffer dogs, it’s school not prison or a detention centre.’

    The letter to parents explaining the initiative states: ‘As part of our determination to educate students about, and protect them from the dangers of illicit drugs, the Queen Elizabeth’s School has a programme of work that is delivered through assemblies and as part of the Curriculum for Life Programmes.

    ‘In the light of recent news items about ‘county lines’, we have arranged for a drugs sniffer dog to attend on one day during the week beginning July 4, 2022. This approach has also been taken by a number of schools locally.

    ‘Ensuring that our school is a safe, drug free and healthy environment for all students to learn and develop is a priority and reflects our community’s values and expectations.

    ‘It is with these goals in mind that we are undertaking this procedure.

    ‘Your son/daughter will have had this explained to them by their tutor prior to the visit to prepare them.

    ‘The dog will move across the school from class to class and in the shared areas, such as the library and reception.

    ‘Students will be asked to file past the dog who will indicate any concerns to his handler.

    ‘The student’s parents would then be informed if, on further investigations, these concerns needed to be explored further.

    Queen Elizabeth's school (pictured), which has over 1,500 pupils aged 13 to 18, is rated as Good by Ofsted

    Queen Elizabeth’s school (pictured), which has over 1,500 pupils aged 13 to 18, is rated as Good by Ofsted

    ‘Periodically we will also be undertaking bag searches to ensure no banned substances, including tobacco, vapes and cigarettes have been brought into the school.’

    The school, which has also erected a large fence to boost its security, said the sniffer dog will be on site next week as part of an initiative being run in several Dorset schools.

    Katie Boyes, headteacher of QE School, said: ‘It is important to state that the use of a dog is not in reaction to an incident and there is not a drug problem at QE School.

    ‘We want to make the school as safe as possible and like other local schools decided to invite a sniffer dog in with its handler.

    ‘It is entirely a preventative measure and is designed to help reassure parents that we are doing everything to ensure their children are safe.

    ‘The visit of the dog for a few hours is allied to our programme of work that educates the children about the dangers of drugs.

    ‘The new fence has been put up because it is a safeguarding requirement, and it is the recommended height for safeguarding compliance within schools.’