REGULAR drug searches will be brought in at a Meon Valley secondary school in an attempt to prevent drug gangs recruiting youngsters.

Parents of children at Swanmore College received a letter from headteacher Kyle Jonathan.

The school will be work in conjunction with others across Hampshire to implement the measures.

Within the letter, Mr Jonathan said: “You may be aware of increasing concerns in Hampshire about drugs misuse and the way in which criminals in organisations like County Lines are exploiting and abusing youngsters in our communities.

“As a group of local schools, we review our safeguarding practices regularly, and we feel the time has come, as part of our education and awareness package about drugs for young people, to conduct regular drugs searches.

“This is a proactive step to ensure that the menace of drugs trading, exploitation and dependency is not brought onto a school site, which in turn, supports the wider community.”

The school has arranged for visits from trained dogs with handlers, who will be accompanied by members of the local police force.

“The first of these visits will take place at some point this term at Swanmore College on the same day as another local school,” Mr Jonathan continued.

“You will appreciate that it would be counter-productive to publish the dates of any visits in advance. Subsequent visits will be approximately termly thereafter.

To alleviate fears the school says it has put in procedures if a search is proved positive.

“I would like to reassure you that if the animal takes an interest in any young person or adult on-site, the matter will be dealt with discretely, out of the sight and hearing of others. Senior staff will be in attendance at all times.

“An interest shown by a trained animal does not necessarily mean that there is a problem, but it will need investigating. Police presence means that follow-up can take place rapidly.

“We understand that the sight of trained dogs and police in a school can be enough to deter people outside from thinking that pupils are easy prey. It is a practical and visual deterrent.”