Sutton Council considers fitting body cameras to lollipop officers in bid to curb ‘drive-through’ abuse

Lollipop men and women may be fitted with body cameras in a bid to tackle ‘drive-through’ incidents including verbal abuse from speeding drivers.

Sutton Council is considering issuing the equipment to staff after lollipop staff working near schools in Sutton, Worcester Park and Hackbridge have all reported drivers not following their instructions.

In the last month Hackbridge experienced 80 ‘drive-through’ incidents where drivers ignored the lollipop man and did not stop when he stood in the road to allow children to cross safely, as well as six incidents of drivers verbally abusing him.

Chris Dillon, 60, the school crossing patrol officer at Hackbridge Primary School, said: “I do a very important job as the safety of children is at stake.

Sutton Council lollipop man Hackbridge Primary SchoolSAFETY FIRST: Chris Dillon helps scores of children cross the road safely

“It is unpleasant to be ignored by drivers, and it is unacceptable that on occasion I have been sworn at by drivers within earshot of the children.

“In the past month alone have experienced dozens of drivers failing to stop when I stand in the middle of the road.

“Such reckless behaviour has real safety implications for the children.

“Most people are lovely but this minority of drivers is putting children’s lives at risk.”

Mr Dillon, who has worked as a lollipop man in Hackbridge since last September, believes that some drivers ignore him as they do not see him as an authority figure and are happy to break the speed limit for the area.

Sutton Council lollipop man Hackbridge Primary School close-upUNACCEPTABLE: Chris has experienced verbal abuse while carrying out his job

He said: “They think I am just a man with a lollipop and that they don’t have to stop because I’m not a policeman.

“On occasion some drivers pass the school in excess of 35 or 40mph.”

This is despite the Highway Code stating that drivers must drive very slowly near schools, be particularly aware of young pedestrians and that they must stop when a lollipop man shows a ‘Stop for Children’ sign.

Hackbridge resident and road safety campaigner Tracey Collins, who has witnessed drive-through incidents outside the school, said:”It is disgraceful that some motorists in the borough are deliberately ignoring lollipop men and women when they are doing their job to ensure that children cross the road safely to school.

“That some are even being abusive as well is appalling.

“Such reckless behaviour is unacceptable as it could put children at risk of injury or worse.

“All drivers should be careful and keep to the speed limit when travelling past a school.”

Sutton Council lollipop man children road safety crossing car passing byPUTTING LIVES AT RISK: Safety campaigners argue that drivers should respect lollipop officers 

Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee at Sutton Council, Councillor Jill Whitehead, said: “It is outrageous that drivers in the borough are putting at risk the lives of schoolchildren by failing to stop when lollipop men are escorting them across the road to and from school.

“That some drivers are also being abusive to our crossing patrol officers when doing their job is also unacceptable.

“As a council we are looking seriously at providing our lollipop men and women with body cameras to deter unacceptable and abusive behaviour and can record any when it occurs.

“We would also remind drivers that they must obey the Highway Code and drive slowly when passing schools in the borough.”

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