Police officers are set to be permanently installed in high schools across Edinburgh as part of a Council initiative to "tackle crime, bullying and exclusion".
By April, 11 officers will work full-time across all schools in Edinburgh, following a successful pilot scheme held in April 2007. Their duties will include lunchtime supervision, mediating meetings concerning bullying, running after-school activities and patrolling the surrounding community "to discourage anti-social behaviour".
The City of Edinburgh Council claims that the trial police presence had a positive impact not just on the schools but in the surrounding community, as it improved pupil's behaviour during lunchtime and after-school periods.
City Education Leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said: "This is a great project that is highly valued by all involved. It provides an opportunity for police officers to show a friendly face and build up positive and non-threatening relations with young people."
Ms MacLaren also explained that the scheme aims to promote unity between the police and youngsters as opposed to mistrust and division.
"I strongly believe that all children should be in school, where they can learn, thrive and reach their full potential and not be wandering the streets. School Link Officers help us to reduce truancy and exclusion which affect all our schools.
"The successful pilot with School Link Officers provides an excellent example of how we can reduce anti-social behaviour and protect our most at-risk children. They help to build relationships with the police and provide positive role models for young people."
Chief Superintendent Gill Imery called the School Link Officer scheme "a significant step forward", adding: "The scheme has proved highly successful since its introduction in 2007, and has resulted in improved relations between the Force and young people, as well as a better standard of behaviour from pupils. This in turn has proved beneficial to those communities surrounding the schools involved.
"Lothian and Borders Police is committed to community engagement and the prevention of crime, so having officers involved in the day-to-day business of so many secondary schools in Edinburgh is an invaluable way of supporting these aims."
The initiative follows a 2002 survey of Scottish pupils which showed that almost half of 11 to 13 year olds had reported committing at least one criminal act.
Police presence in schools is already a popular policy across the United States following the Columbine high school shootings in 1999. While there is no accurate estimate of how many Student Response Officers (SROs) there are nationally, federal grants in 2008 placed about 6,400 in schools across the US.
The National School Safety and Security Services claim that the presence of SROs have "prevented far more incidents from occurring than they have made actual arrests".