A significant police present was visible outside Langdon Park School, Poplar, this lunchtime in response to violent incidents in the vicinity.
LW witnessed at least 10-12 police officers, both uniform and CID, standing guard outside Langdon Park as pupils left the premises today.
A number of men in plain clothes with walkie-talkies could also be seen inside the school entrance keeping watch as children left, these are assumed to be school staff.
Approximately 40-50 parents waited for their children outside.
LW was initially told by police officers that the unusual level of policing was in response to a single incident outside the school the previous evening.
Local residents we spoke to told a different story.
Or several incidents?
It seems this level of police activity has been in place at Langdon Park School since 19th September.
Residents also said that there had been a number of violent incidents relating to other schools in the area.
This has not been confirmed by the authorities.
The Metropolitan Police Service, Tower Hamlets Council and Langdon Park School have all been asked for statements on this issue and we will update this story when we receive them.
A brush with the law
LW was stopped, identity checked and questioned for some time by two plain-clothes police officers after we had left the scene asking what, why and who we had been taking photographs of and what we intended to do with them?
In our (extensive) experience of photographing policing events over the last 40 years (that long? Blimey!) the police only give photographers hassle when they are (a) bored (b) have no understanding of media law whatsoever or (c) the photographer has been taking photos of something the police do not want the general public (that’s you folks!) to see.
Our guess is that this was very much a case of Option C. Why so touchy?
We have yet to establish exactly why this level of high visibility policing is needed outside a school. One police officer? Makes sense.
Two police officers? Hey at least they have someone to chat to.
But 10-12 police officers, several of them plain clothes? It was apparent that Tower Hamlets Police were taking no chances and were prepared to deal with a significant incident should it occur.
Are parents of school children across the borough comforted by this level of policing or just alarmed because it is necessary?
Are incidents such as this one at Bows Boys School that we reported in June this year now the norm?
Is the level of violence amongst children in Tower Hamlets so bad that getting an education is a now a high-risk activity?