The third edition of a national survey carried out by Road Safety GB confirms that the UK’s school crossing patrol (SCP) service continues to face difficult and challenging times.
Published yesterday (4 April), the 2016 survey shows that since the previous edition in 2013, more than a quarter (27%) of local authorities have experienced a reduction or change in their SCP service.
In addition, 18% reported planned future reductions to their service – although this figure has dropped from 23% in 2013.
53% of local authorities surveyed said they had experienced ‘no significant reduction or change’ to their service, down from 60% in 2013.
107 local authorities completed the 2017 survey, which represents around 50% of the SCP services in Britain. Of the 6,673 sites they collectively manage, there were vacancies at 982 (15%) – a 3% increase compared with 2013.
The survey highlights a shift in where funding is coming from, with 21 authorities (20%) indicating that their SCP service is part funded through sponsorship – up from 11% in 2013. However, the number of authorities using volunteers to help deliver the service has ‘hardly changed’.
The survey suggests that the number of verbal and physical assaults on SCPs is declining.
Richard Hall, Road Safety GB lead with regard to the SCP service, said: “In 2013, 9% of authorities reported that between one and five of their patrols had been physically assaulted at work during the previous 12 months. In the current survey this has reduced to 3%.
“Verbal abuse had dropped significantly with 38% reporting between one and nine patrols suffering this, compared to 63% in 2013.
“One authority, however, did report more than 60 incidents of verbal abuse, and several authorities reported that most of their patrols had suffered verbal abuse, or that abuse was a daily occurrence.
“The level of ‘fail to stop’ incidents has hardly changed since the previous survey.
“Difficulty with recruitment and retention of patrols remains a significant problem, with 25% highlighting this as a concern.”
The full survey results are available for Road Safety GB members to download from the members’ area of this website.