Asquith Day Nursery's £80,000 security apparatus includes a six-foot high wooden fence, denying anybody the chance of peering inside (and, of course, giving the children a view not dissimilar to that of inmates at nearby Wandsworth prison). Fingerprint scanners and and a regularly-changed passcode provide two levels of scrutiny for anybody entering, and staff will manually check against an approved list of people cleared to collect their children. Mobile phones have also been banned from the premises, lest some enterprising paedo smuggle himself in and start taking snaps.
According to the nursery's manager, the tough measures have been implemented to assuage fears of gang-related violence after a spate of stabbings around Lambeth borough. Parents are supportive, and the nursery is considering rolling out the plan nationwide. All very well and good, but has have nursery-aged toddlers regressed so much that they engage in postcode beatdowns? There's little point repping your endz when most three-year olds can barely remember their name, let alone address.
In reality, the security precautions may placate parents sickened by the awful actions of Vanessa George, and scared to be branded irresponsible (look at the opprobrium heaped on the Schonrocks, also from Dulwich, who dared let their children cycle to school alone); but they're unlikely to actually do anything to make their children safer — George, after all, was a nursery employee. What the measures will do, unfortunately, is underscore for a child that the adult world is an inherently dangerous one, something to be feared instead of engaged with.