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Poole's School Crossing Patrols Are Real Diamonds

The School Crossing Patrol (SCP) service is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee.

To mark this significant milestone the Mayor of Poole, Councillor Carol Evans, presented a special commemorative badge and certificate to members of Poole's patrols at a recent celebratory event.

The badge and certificate were provided by Road Safety GB and have been distributed to SCPs across the country to mark the 60th anniversary of the service.

The Mayor Of Poole With Members Of Poole's School Crossing Patrols
The Mayor Of Poole With Members Of Poole's School Crossing Patrols

Councillor Carol Evans, Mayor of Poole, said: "I am thrilled to be able to present these mementoes celebrating the important role this service provides to our local community. The need for patrols will remain as long as children walk to school and cross busy roads, so here’s to another 60 years of the service!"

The SCP service was officially created by the School Crossing Patrol Act in 1953 and the first official patrol started work in 1954. There are currently 26 patrols covering 24 sites across the Borough, with a number of relief patrols ready to step in when emergency cover is required.

Councillor Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transport, Borough of Poole, explained: "When the Borough became a Unitary Authority in 1996, it took over the School Crossing Patrols that were already in existence within its boundaries. Some of those people are still with Poole and continue to provide an excellent service. The uniform and 'lollipop sign' have changed a bit to meet evolving standards, and the patrols can now stop traffic to enable any pedestrian, adult or child, to cross, but the role is essentially the same today as it was 60 years ago."

The idea for SCPs came in the late 1940s when two of the newly created road safety officers in the London Boroughs of Dagenham and Barking (Jock Brining and Dorothy Pummell) recognised a growing problem with the safety of child pedestrians given the increasing volume of traffic on roads.

At that time around 90% of children walked to school unaccompanied, and also played out on the streets. Children were advised to ask an adult to see them across busy roads, but Jock Brining had the idea of ‘official’ adults to help children on their way to school at points where traffic was at its worst.

Jock and Dorothy persuaded their councils to agree to the idea and went on to employ ‘active retired gentlemen’ as ‘traffic wardens’, who wore white coats and peaked hats - as worn by park keepers at the time.

The idea proved very popular and soon spread to other London boroughs, and as more wardens were appointed the Met Police took over responsibility for the new service.

The SCP service was born when the Government recognised the value of having a service that crossed children at busy and difficult locations.