Man Held In Merton Over Possessing Indecent Images Of Children

Arrest made after snap investigation of Hall School, Wimbledon

A police investigation has been launched after an allegation was made about a child protection issue at Hall School, Wimbledon.

A 56-year-old man has been arrested in Merton on suspicion of voyeurism and possessing indecent images of children.

A police spokesman said they were still trying to establish where in Merton the alleged incident occurred. The Headmaster of the Hall School, Timothy Hobbs, has said in a letter sent to all parents that the allegation that images of children were taken at the school are 'malicious and have no foundation'.

According to a report in the Evening Standard the allegations were first made when an individual complained to the Department for Education. Soon afterwards, on February 23, OFSTED made a snap inspection of the school focusing on child protection issues. The conclusions of this report were published on March 15 and found that the school's safeguarding policy was not implemented effectively.

It stated: "Staff, including designated safeguarding leaders, have an inconsistent understanding of the school’s procedure for photographing pupils. The school has a clear policy on staff members’ use of mobile phones and most staff spoken to said they would not use a personal mobile phone to photograph pupils. However, leaders said that it is acceptable if the images are then deleted."

Six days after the publication of the report the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command launched an investigation.

In his letter to parents send on April 18 Timothy Hobbs said: "We believe that the allegations were malicious and have no foundation. Whilst we are not clear as to the exact nature of the allegations, we understand that they were made by an unnamed individual."

He also states that no complaint about the matter has been made directly to the school and there have been no recent safeguarding concerns expressed from any source. He also disputed strongly the conclusions of the OFSTED report and said he was 'surprised and disappointed' by their findings.

The school, which has its Senior School on the Downs in Wimbledon and a Junior School in Putney Vale, has declined requests for further comment.

The man, who was arrested on April 4, has been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in early May while enquiries continue.

April 28, 2017

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Hall School, Wimbledon

Hall School, Wimbledon