IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Parents in shock as hidden camera discovered in Duncombe Primary School’s toilets

Police question man in 60s over the case but find 'no evidence of voyeurism'

31 October, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

FURIOUS mothers said that they are ready to press charges against a primary school after it was revealed that “concealed cameras” had been in the children’s toilets for five years.

An investigation has been launched by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), looking into a potential data breach in relation to the hidden devices at Duncombe Primary School.

The cameras were “facing the wash basin”, a letter from the chair of governors said, and the film from them had been deleted every month by an unnamed individual.

The admission, however, sparked anger at the school gates.

Mother-of-five Nese Kesen marched into the school grounds with a group of other anxious parents demanding answers from new headteacher Helen Ryan.

Ms Kesen said: “Us parents are disgusted. What is the camera doing in the toilet? We will not let this go quietly, whoever is responsible needs to know we are coming for you.”

Manyola’s daughter started last year at Duncombe.

The mother, who did not want her surname in the newspaper, said: “I am so shocked. My daughter gets changed in the toilet. She is too shy to get changed in front of her class mates. God knows who has watched this,” Manyola added. “It makes me feel sick.”

The letter said that the discovery had been made during the summer holidays and before Ms Ryan took over in her new post.
She disconnected the cameras which had been running since 2014 and she informed the council and the police, the letter home to parents said.

Islington Police then opened an investigation and found that the images were “deleted after one month and concluded that there was no evidence of criminal activity,” according to the letter.

Naz, another parent who spoke on the condition we did not print her full name, said: “I can’t deal with this, my heart is breaking. I feel sorry for my kids. They have been violated.”

She added: “We want to know answers. Why is this person not being prosecuted? I will prosecute if the police do not.”

The school was due to hold a meeting on Friday morning in a bid to reassure the parents.

A mother-of-four, who did not want to be named, said she had been told by staff that the cameras had been put in place to monitor potential bullying in the toilets.

The Tribune has approached the school to answer further questions about the case, but has not received a reply.

An ICO spokesman 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.”

An Islington Council spokesman 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.”

A police spokesman said: “On August 2, police received information that cameras were found to have been installed in the toilets of a school in Sussex Way, N19. Enquiries were carried out with the full co-operation of the school, and all available safeguarding measures were put in place. 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.”

The governors’ letter said: “We want to reassure you that we take such matters extremely seriously and will not tolerate intrusions. The new leadership at Duncombe has taken several corrective actions which governors fully support.”

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