Not a lot of lolli: Number of lollipop people in Edinburgh plummets
Once a familiar sight on Edinburgh’s school runs, the number of lollipop patrollers in the Capital is in decline.
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New figures obtained through a freedom of information request show that the number of school patrol officers employed by the council has fallen by over a fifth since 2013.
There were 172 lollipop patrollers in the city eight years ago, but that has fallen to 136 this year.
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Lothian MSP Miles Briggs said the blame for the dwindling numbers lies firmly with the SNP passing on cuts to local authorities, which has affected their ability to provide day-to-day services such as lollipop patrollers.
However, the council say the issues have been overstated and have announced that 12 new lollipop people are expected to start work in the new year.
Mr Briggs said: “Lollipop patrollers are a cornerstone of our communities across Edinburgh. They are much loved by kids, parents and teachers alike for their work in keeping everyone safe outside our schools.
“It is extremely disappointing that the number of patrollers are now over a fifth lower than they were in 2013 in the capital. That is showing the damaging impact that savage SNP cuts to council budgets are having on day-to-day services.
“Enough is enough. Local authorities like Edinburgh have borne the brunt of SNP cuts for far too long, which have been supported by their friends in the Greens.
“That has passed the buck onto councils to make tough decisions like this to cut the number of lollipop patrollers. It cannot continue and is exactly why I am proud to be leading Scottish Conservative plans to enshrine a fair funding deal in law for councils, to help support services like lollipop patrollers that taxpayers expect to be resourced.”
However, head of Edinburgh Council refuted these claims and said it is normal for the number of lollipop people to change and these changes are due to a number of factors.
School patrol officers tend to be older leading to a higher rate of employees retiring and leaving vacancies. The work also tends to be part time and some employees have decided to leave to find full time employment.
Both of these factors are in part responsible for the reduction in numbers of lollipop people working in the Capital, claims council heads.
Twelve new lollipop people will start work in the new year
The council’s transport convener councillor Lesley Macinnes said there are currently 12 new lollipop people due to start work in the new year.
The councillor said: “School crossing patrol guides play a crucial role in maintaining road safety and helping school children learn about safe crossing. We have ongoing recruitment throughout the year as vacancies arise and we find that the vast majority of posts are taken up by people with a connection to a particular school community, such as a parent, grandparent or local resident.
“We currently have 12 successful applications going through our recruitment process and these posts should be filled in the new year. Anyone interested in finding out more about vacancies should contact the School Crossing Patrol team on 0131 458 8041.”