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Thousands of pupils are receiving police escorts from school as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

Officers are travelling on buses, waiting in potential anti-social "hotspots" and accompanying children as young as five walking home from school in "after school patrols".

The patrols have been targeted in areas which are known to have problems with anti-social behaviour.

To date, 65 local authorities in England have carried out 15,292 patrols, covering 1,632 primary and secondary schools, according to figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

Some 64,017 pupils have been spoken to by officers, the figures show, and 2,497 have been referred to other services, including drug and alcohol services, or activities in their area.

As about 5,000 schools already have a dedicated police officer linked to them, it means many children are effectively being policed from the start of the school day, until evening.

The DCSF said it advocated after-school patrols as an effective way to tackle anti-social behaviour at the end of the school day.

Under the Youth Crime Action Plan, 69 areas are receiving funding totalling £765,000 between 2008/11 for a range of measures to combat anti-social behaviour. continues here

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