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Hidden cameras discovered in children's toilet at Upper Holloway primary school

PUBLISHED: 12:29 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:25 07 November 2019

Duncombe Primary School Pic: CH Architects LLP

Duncombe Primary School Pic: CH Architects LLP

Archant

Police are investigating after staff at Duncombe Primary School discovered there had been hidden cameras in the children's toilets for five years.

Parents and carers were this morning sent a letter informing them that concealed cameras facing the washbasin in the kids toilets at the Sussex Way school had been found, and had been there since April 2014.

Helen Ryan, who took over as headteacher of the Upper Holloway school at the end of last year, reported the devices to police who removed the cameras the next day.

A Met Police spokesperson said: "As part of the investigation, a man in his 60s was interviewed under caution. The case has now been closed.

During the course of the investigation, no evidence of voyeurism or any other offences were disclosed, or found to have taken place."

Police informed the school that images captured by the cameras were deleted at the end of every month.

Laura, whose kids go to Duncombe, told the Gazette: "I really trusted the school. I'm in shock. I'm disgusted. I feel unforgiving and more angry than anything."

Another mum said: "I can't believe it. I'm absolutely shocked. I went to the primary school and I'm now in my 40s. All my children have gone to the school. I really can't believe it. Kids get changed for P.E in the toilets. I don't know if I should get my girl out of the school."

Ms Ryan referred the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office which confirmed to the school on Friday last week a data breach has taken place.

The letter reads: "We want to reassure you we take such matters very seriously and will not tolerate intrusions. The new leadership at Ducombe has taken several corrective actions which governors fully support including a full audit of the school.

"The school has undertaken further external scrutiny from the local authority and an audit by the borough's data protection officer confirmed Duncombe's date protection now complies with legal expectations [...]

"We understand there a huge amount of trust is placed in a primary school and commit to continuing to make the well-being, happiness and education of your children our utmost priority."

An ICO spokesperson said: "We have been made aware of an incident relating to the use of concealed CCTV cameras at Duncombe Primary School in north London and will be making enquiries."

Duncombe's board of governors later stated: "Governors and the school have been cooperating fully with the ICO inquiry. We will provide further updates to parents and the school community as soon as we can. A parent working party has been established to provide enhanced and direct contact between all parents, the school and governors to ensure transparency and aid understanding of parents' concerns."

An Islington Council spokesperson said: "An Islington Council spokesperson said: "Ensuring that our family of schools properly safeguard their pupils, and protect their personal data, is paramount to the council.

"As soon as we were contacted by the school we gave advice and guidance to the governing body on the appropriate next steps, to enable them to carry out an investigation into the circumstances.

"We are satisfied that the school has taken all appropriate measures to prevent anything similar happening again."

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