Specially trained officers across the Metropolitan Police Service are working with a new programme to help young children in London protect themselves from danger.
Safer schools and neighbourhood officers are working in partnership with the charity ‘Action Against Abduction’ to help children recognise situations that could be unsafe and know what to do to protect themselves.
These officers have adopted the ‘Clever Never Goes’ programme in primary schools they work with across the capital. This is a modernised version of the well-known ‘Stranger Danger’ campaign launched in 1971.
The roll-out of Clever Never Goes forms the latest phase of ongoing work by schools officers to keep children and young people across the capital safe. The Met piloted the early stages of this programme back in 2019 in 37 primary schools. The feedback was universally supportive of a service-wide roll-out.
A specially designed robot named Clever helps children spot dangerous situations and gives them tips about how to respond. The programme is designed to be positive, practical and playful whilst ensuring the reality of situations is not lost.
The core message is never to go with anyone unless it has been previously arranged.
From Wednesday, 9 June the Met will roll out the Clever Never Goes resources to primary school children aged five to 11. These include online safety scenarios, prompting children to consider online grooming dangers.
Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker, said: “Keeping children and young people safe is an absolute priority for the Met. We’re continuously working hard to educate young people about the risks they could face and equip them with the right knowledge and tools to protect themselves.
“The launch of this new programme is just the latest phase of important work carried out by schools officers across the Met every day.
“I know in recent weeks there have been reports of attempted abductions in certain parts of London and I understand parents’ concerns about the safety of their children as a result.
“Thorough investigations were conducted to investigate these reports, and to date there is no corroborating evidence that these were in fact attempted abductions.
“Nonetheless, we know the considerable concern reports of this nature have caused within communities.
“Fortunately, child kidnappings or abductions which leave children and young people in serious danger are incredibly rare, but we will never be complacent and I would urge anyone who has a concern about a child to get in touch with us or any relevant partner agency as soon as possible.
“We are working hard across London, and in particular in areas where we have seen heightened concern, to reassure parents and wider communities.
“We are also equipping children with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves and Clever Never Goes is a crucial part of that process. Our partnership on this initiative is incredibly important and I would urge all teachers, parents and all others in contact with young people to help us educate children how to stay safe.”
Geoff Newiss, Action Against Abduction charity Director, said: “The risk of child abduction might be low but the onus is on all of us as parents, carers or professionals to give children the tools to look after themselves as they get older and gain more independence.
“Clever Never Goes is all about doing this in a way that promotes confidence rather than inculcating the fear that comes with stranger danger. Having the Met on board with Clever Never Goes is a great step forward towards keeping London’s children safe.”