1. ITV Report

Are cuts in lollipop lady numbers putting our children at risk?

Crossing patrol officer Barbara Buckle helping children across the road in Norhamptonshire. Photo: ITV News Anglia.

A Northamptonshire MP says he is concerned about the safety of the region's children after figures showed dozens of lollipop ladies had been cut from outside schools.

Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Andy Sawford put in FOI requests to county councils across the country and found that at least 992 officers have been lost in England since 2010.

The figures show patrols in Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire have been hardest hit by the cuts in this region.

But in Essex the number of school crossing patrol officers has actually increased slightly over the past four years.

  • Northamptonshire: 60 fewer since 2010.
  • Hertfordshire: 21 fewer since 2010.
  • Bedfordshire: One fewer since 2010.
  • Norfolk: 16 fewer since 2010.
  • Suffolk: Three fewer since 2010.
  • Essex: Three more since 2010.
  • Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire did not respond.

Mr Sawford said this was a major concern both locally for his constituents and nationally.

There are 1,000 fewer lollipop ladies and men across the country than four years ago.

"I'm very worried that this has real implications for the safety of children across Northamptonshire."

– Andy Sawford MP, Corby and East Northamptonshire, Lab.

At Oundle in Northamptonshire, the crossing patrol outside the local primary school faced being lost after the county council cut funding three years ago.

For two years, the town council was able to pay for it but announced last year that it could no longer afford to keep the service going alone.

Local businessman David Smith believed the crossing patrol was so essential, he stepped in to help the council fund it through his architecture firm.

That money will run out after this year and his business can no longer afford to keeping paying for it.

“I think that the school crossing patrol is a good symbol of how much you care for your children, how much society cares for its children, so for me it was an obvious thing to do… But unfortunately I’m a very small business, I can’t afford to pay for the whole thing."_

– David Smith, Waterland Associates.

It means parents in Oundle once again face the prospect of the service being cut.

Outside the school this morning, they told ITV News Anglia it would be a great loss for their children and for the town.

Crossing patrol officer Barbara Buckle helping children across the road in Norhamptonshire Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Click below to watch a full report by ITV News Anglia's Olivia Paterson.