Abuse and dangerous driving at school crossing sites are on the rise say lollipop men and women at Buckinghamshire Council after schools reopened to all pupils in March.
Come rain or shine, the small army of 60 school crossing patrollers are out morning and afternoon with their trusty STOP signs to help children safely reach school as well as assisting adults across the road. However, a small minority of drivers are being increasingly abusive and putting lives at risk with dangerous manoeuvres just because they don’t want to stop to let people cross safely.
The Council is so concerned that it is relaunching its ‘Respect Me’ Campaign in an attempt to protect patrollers from rising levels of abuse, aggression and danger. This includes new coats with the slogan ‘Respect Me’ on the back and a wider campaign to educate motorists to stop when required.
Recent examples include drivers using abusive language, not stopping when the patroller was already standing in the road and even swerving round the patroller just to get past. There are also other instances where blocked pavements and inconsiderate dropping off or parking by parents, particularly at School Keep Clear markings and at Bus Stops, makes the patroller’s job more difficult to maintain safety and hinders the safe route to school.
Corporate Director for Planning, Growth and Sustainability at Buckinghamshire Council, Ian Thompson said it was disappointing that the council was having to take this action but the protection of school crossing patrollers and all those using the crossings must take priority.
“Our lollipop men and women are valuable members of our local school communities and are well-loved and appreciated by the pupils and parents they help.
“It seems some people are not aware of, or simply ignore, the Highway Code on the meaning of the position of the pole and the appropriate response from a driver. We will always have a zero-tolerance approach to behaviour which threatens the physical or mental wellbeing of our crossing patroller staff or which compromises the safety of those crossing the road.”
Drivers must stop when they are shown the STOP ‘lollipop’ sign, failing to do so when requested can lead to a £1,000 fine, three penalty points and disqualification. Vehicles must also stay stationary until the pole has been lowered and the patroller is back on the pavement.
Ian continued: “As the roads inevitably get busier with pandemic restrictions easing, we hope that communities will continue to support their local patrollers to do their job safely. We need drivers to be patient and considerate – after all it’s only asking for a few seconds to ensure everyone crosses safely.”
To report any incidents involving School Crossing Patrollers, please contact:
Corinne Randall—Aylesbury Vale and Wycombe (West): Tel: 01296 383432
Georgina Longley—Chiltern & South Bucks and Wycombe (East): Tel: 01494 586639
The Team is also on the lookout for more permanent patrollers as well as relief patrollers who can be available at short notice to stand in if someone is unable to work. Job share are always welcome.
For more information on current vacancies, please visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/scp