*Update 18th December: scroll down
Mrs Angry is sure that all parents in the London Borough of Broken Barnet want to feel confident that their children are at a school which values the safety and security of pupils, staff - and school buildings too. Many educational establishments have installed CCTV systems, of course, and other security measures. All well and good, but one primary school is to be commended for offering even higher standards of protection.
A concerned parent has contacted Mrs Angry to draw her attention to some rather alarming new precautions being adopted by St Andrew's school in Totteridge - located in Totteridge Lane, just next to the Orange Tree pub. St Andrew's is a voluntary aided, Cof E primary school, one of the most desirable in the borough for those who want a good state school, beautfully situated in perhaps the borough's wealthiest residential area, and attended by some of the most privileged children in Barnet.
The governors of this establishment have decided to employ the use of a local security company which, according to the notices it has plastered all around the premises, can offer round the clock 'crime response'. This of course is not so much because of the challenging behaviour of the children, as the risk of, well, I don't know really. Burglary, maybe.
Now I don't know about you, but I might have some doubts about the management, and indeed the ethos of this school, after looking at the new notices that have been installed all over the place, as seen in the photo above, taken this weekend.
'This premises', they proclaim, 'is protected by a HIGH SPEED CRIME RESPONSE FORCE'. This premises is? Really: what kind of a school is this? Listen: Michael Gove is crying at his desk. And at the bottom of the notices you find a stern warning:
'This plaque remains the property of Evolution Emergency Response Ltd'.
Yes: if you are some sort of literary thief intent on nicking examples of criminally bad grammar, or perhaps you are a keen collector of the memorabilia of amusing fantasy pseudo military security companies and have your eyes on this notice (sorry) - plaque: hands off. If you even touch it, CCTV cameras will have you marked, and a crime response team will be on your case. Within seconds, probably. Maybe.
Evolution Emergency Response offer a full range of services, of course. Mmm. According to their website, they can provide keyholding facilities, and management of a crime scene. They can supply GPS records and oh - even CCTV footage. Other less glamorous functions, apparently include, er, putting out bins, and - aha, here is something for their local ward councillor Brian Coleman - 'preventative gritting' when snow is on the way. (Except that Brian has a better service, free from the LBBarnet, of course). Another helpful role might be the offer to reset computers. Discretion guaranteed, we can be sure.
Ah ... but there is the problem, isn't it? And here is the reason Mrs Angry might suggest that the headteacher, and the school governors, and the local authority, and the Church of England, and possibly even the local rozzers, might like to ask a few questions.
Is this company SIA approved? Does it have full insurance? What are the payment arrangements with the company? Is there a contract? Are their employees licensed, even as key holders? Are the directors of the company registered as data processors? Has a risk assessment taken place to fulfil obligations in relation to safeguarding matters?
Because of course this company's name used to be, until a few months ago, MetPro Emergency Response, and readers just might recall that this same company, formerly used for several years by Barnet Council, was revealed by the Barnet bloggers to be operating illegally with unlicensed employees, who had not undergone CRB checks, and that this company had admitted covertly filming Mrs Angry and other residents at a council meeting, and this company's services were therefore disposed of, at last, by the council, whose unsanctioned relationship with this company was criticised by its own audit inquiry in June this year ...
Incidentally Mrs Angry has still not received a response, rapid, emergency or evolved in any way, to her complaint about this, sent to director Mr Noyan Nihat, or to her request for the return of the footage taken and retained in breach of the Data Protection Act. Mr Nihat is a very busy man, of course, as we have been reminded by the Mirror recently:
and in 2009 by the Daily Mail:
If Mrs Angry had children at St Andrew's, however, she would be standing at the school gates on Monday morning, waiting for the headteacher to arrive, armed with a long list of interesting questions. She suspects that some parents may well be doing just that anyway.
How curious, as we are all feeling nostalgic for the heady days of the MetPro inquiry, and Barnet Council's red face glowering at us over the table of the audit committee, that Mr Mustard should publish this interesting post today:
*Update 18th December:
MetPro/Evolution Emergency Response and the interesting Mr Noyan Nihat feature in an article on the award winning financial website 'This is Money.co.uk':
Mrs Angry notes that the 'Vitamail' company, which is based in the south of France, has been known to the investigative press as early as 2006, as this article in the Guardian reveals:
Et alors: here is a pointless footnote, to excite any latent conspiracy theorists: Mme Angry has just noticed an amusing feature of this story.
The man behind Vitamail is one Jean-Dominique Angeletti.
In 2009, "Au nom de l'ouverture et de la transparence", the Grand Master of the Grande Loge nationale française (GLNF), ie the French masonic movement, published a list of his 'cabinet' members. Well done, that man. We like a bit of overture and transparence here in Broken Barnet too, mon ami, although our local council's Cabinet does not.
Oh, and anyway, one of these masonic Cabinet bigwigs (in France, not Broken Barnet, do try to keep up. Although, yes, we do have them in our Cabinet too. You boys.) was 'Conseiller chargé des affaires intérieures et de l'intendance, M. Jean-Dominique Angeletti (chef d'entreprise)'.
Of course it may be an entirely different Jean-Dominique Angeletti. Or it may not. Does it matter? Not at all. Are you bored, Mrs Angry? Yes I am. Just ignore me.