Kingston schools child abduction fears put parents and police on alert

12:35 26 May 2012

Police and the council have moved to reassure residents after three reported incidents at schools in Kingston-upon-Thames borough recently, including one believed to be an attempted abduction.

The Met says one report concerned an incident on May 17 in the grounds of Grand Avenue Primary School in Surbiton.

It was reported a man and woman walked up to a schoolgirl at a water fountain and attempted to engage her in conversation.

A police spokesman said: “The investigation into this allegation is continuing. No allegations which amount to criminal behaviour have been disclosed.”

Meanwhile, police want to hear from anyone who may have seen or comforted a child in distress at Knollmead Primary School on May 21 at about 9.10am.

Police say there have been extensive inquiries but no offences have come to light.

There were reports of a man in his 20s approaching a boy and grabbing hold of him, before the boy struggled free and ran away.

Finally, also on May 21, it was reported a man on a push bike was acting suspiciously in a car park close to Green Lane Primary School in Worcester Park.

The Met spokesman said: “We are now satisfied that no criminal offences were committed.”

Chief Superintendent Martin Greenslade, borough commander for Kingston, said: “I understand and share the community’s deep concern and would also like to use this as a further opportunity to reassure parents that we have treated the incidents extremely seriously and have investigated them robustly.

“A policing plan was put in place and we instigated extra patrols in the borough and maintained an increased visible presence outside local schools.

“I would like to report that the investigation has led to the conclusion that these incidents are not linked as previously thought.

“I would like to thank the community, especially parents and the schools who have fully supported our investigations and the increased police presence. I would also like to thank everyone who has provided information which has been appreciated and of assistance.”

Councillor Patricia Bamford said: “I am very pleased to learn that there is no evidence of any connection between these three incidents.

“I am grateful to Kingston police for their thorough and professional investigations into each of these reports.

“The police were quick to provide visible support and reassurance around our schools and have worked closely with schools, the local authority and the wider community to assess the evidence available.

“It is understandable that during the course of these investigations that level of concern and anxiety amongst parents and school communities has risen. I hope that this latest statement will allay those fears and that parents will understand the absolutely need for caution when investigating incidents involving children or other vulnerable groups.

“Whilst this has been a worrying time for parents it is also a timely reminder to us all against complacency when it comes to the safeguarding of children.”

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