Police to increase presence at school following anti-vax protests

West Mercia Police have said that there will be an ‘increased presence’ at a local school over the next few days following a series of anti-vaccination protests.

Anti-vax protesters opposite Madeley Academy
Anti-vax protesters opposite Madeley Academy

Campaigners opposed to Covid vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds have been outside Madeley Academy in Telford repeatedly in recent days.

They were present again yesterday, with three or four people bearing placards outside the school in the afternoon.

Earlier this week a video posted on social media showed two protesters set up with a number of placards on the pavement and a bank near to the school.

The yellow placards had a number of slogans, including ‘please don’t jab our kids’, and ‘the media is the virus’.

The protesters have been outside the school for several days

There have been calls for the protesters to stop targeting the school over concerns about the impact on pupils.

West Mercia Police have not taken any action over the situation so far, with no laws being broken by the protesters.

However, they have now confirmed that there will be an increased police presence at the school in light of the continuing situation.

It comes as it was revealed that Telford & Wrekin still has nearly 30,000 people eligible for the vaccination who have not received it.

A police spokesman said: “West Mercia Police have been made aware of protesters attending Madeley Academy School on three separate days over the last week.

“On each occasion there were three protesters with placards. There have been no further reports. At this time the police are working with the school and local authority to ensure that the protesters are able to voice their concerns in a safe and lawful way, whilst ensuring the children who attend the school and their parents are not impacted upon.

"There will be an increased police presence over the coming days at the school to ensure that any further protests are lawful and to offer reassurance to the local community.Should any members of the local community have concerns about the protests please contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.”

Police had previously confirmed that there had been no formal complaints over the issue and that no action has been taken against the protesters.

Councillor Shaun Davies, the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said on Thursday that he had written to the region’s police and crime commissioner urging him to press the government for fresh powers that would allow councils to stop people protesting outside schools.

He said: “Quite clearly I cannot see a set of circumstances where it is justified for people to be protesting outside a school.

Protesters outside Madeley Academy on Thursday this week

“What we desperately need as a borough and as a country is for kids to get into school and make up for the time they have missed and to have a normal school life again.

“Having people outside to protest about one issue or another is simply not normal.”

He added: “It is an unacceptable invasion of children’s school life. Whatever your views are on this, it is not fair trying to influence an 11-year-old child.”

The UK Government recently announced plans to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to children in England and Wales aged 12 and over.

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