Why wasn't complaint about extreme bullying case at Deanes School, Thundersley, taken more seriously by police?

Echo: The Deanes School The Deanes School

PARENTS claim police failed to investigate an extreme case of bullying against their son, with the force’s watchdog urging an investigation into what went wrong.

The 14-year-old boy was taped to a lamp-post, had his trousers and underwear pulled down and things thrown at him by his attackers while others filmed the incident on their mobile phones.

The shocking attack happened in May 2011 at Deanes School, in Thundersley, and yet all the family have received by way of response is a letter of apology from the attackers which was posted through their front door by a police officer.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has asked Essex Police to find out what happened during the investigation and whether any other action could have been taken.

The victim’smother said: “It doesn’t feel right.

“If a 14-year-old girl had been tied to a post and had her trousers and underwear pulled down, I’m sure it would have been taken more seriously and someone would probably have gone to court over it.

“I’m not sure what can be done about it now, but it just doesn’t feel like justice was done.”

Essex Police’s own assessment of its investigation, which backed up by findings from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, found the investigating officer did not record the details of the attack properly, including the fact the boy’s underwear was pulled down during the attack and that it was filmed on mobile phones.

The victim was not interviewed until nine days after the attack and the family said they would only have accepted an apology from the perpatrators, as a way of resolving the incident, if it was carried out face to face – with the police and the other boys’ parents present.

The victim’s mother added: “My husband reported it to the police that night.

“We were amazed this was allowed to happen and they didn’t seem to treat it as seriously as it should have been.

“We spent months writing to the school and police to try and get an answer.”

The family say they have not heard from officers since December about the investigation and their complaints.

An Essex Police spokesman said officers were in “the final stages” of completing their reports on the case and hoped to give it to the family in due course.

MOBILE phones have been banned at Deanes since last year after an assault on a pupil which was filmed and put on the internet.

The victim was videoed being punched in the face in March last year. It later resulted in court action against the bullies.

The parents of the victim from 2011 believe the second incident would not have happened if the school had treated their son’s attack more seriously.

They also said the school stopped listening to their complaints about the handling of the incident.

Headteacher Jan Atkinson said: “The whole incident was investigated, the police were involved and the school followed all correct procedures.

“All phones have been banned for months now. School policy was changed as was our behaviour policy, although not as a result of the incident in 2011.”

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