Hidden cameras found in primary school’s toilets had been there for five years

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Hidden cameras found in the toilets of a north London primary school had been there for five years, parents have been told in a letter.

The concealed cameras were discovered facing wash basins in the children’s toilets of Duncombe Primary School on Sussex Way, Upper Holloway, over the summer holidays.

But parents were only recently informed about the incident following a letter from the school’s chair of governors, Douglas Cowie.

The letter said the cameras had been there since April 2014, but had only been disconnected in summer 2019 when new headteacher Helen Ryan was made aware of their existence.

She “immediately” took action and informed police who then launched a criminal investigation, Mr Cowie said in the letter, which has been shared on Facebook.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it was contacted on August 2 and a man in his 60s was interviewed under caution.

“During the course of the investigation, no evidence of voyeurism or any other offences were disclosed, or found to have taken place,” the Met said, adding that the case has been closed.

The police investigation established that images recorded on the cameras had been deleted, Mr Cowie said.

The matter was also referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office which confirmed to the school on Friday October 18 that a data breach had taken place, Mr Cowie said.

Mr Cowie continued: “The school has undertaken further external scrutiny from the local authority and an audit by the borough’s data protection officer confirmed that Duncombe’s data protection now complies with legal expectations.

“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, including a safeguarding audit of the school.”

An Islington Council spokesman said it provided the school’s governing body with guidance and advice to enable it 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,” the spokesman said.

Duncombe Primary School has been contacted for comment.

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