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UK schools warned to take action ahead of summer crime spate

Schools across the UK are being warned to take precautions amid fears of a rise in crime over the summer holidays as cost of living soars.  

 

As many schools across the country prepare to close their doors for the summer holidays, specialist insurer Ecclesiastical says schools will be an attractive target for criminals over the coming months.

 

Ecclesiastical has reported an uptick in schools being targeted over the summer months including vandalism, arson, break-ins, smashed windows, theft of lead from roofs and stolen laptops. In April, The British School1 in Wotton-under-Edge had lead from the roof stolen for a second time in two years.

 

Now with Covid-19 restrictions lifted and against a challenging economic backdrop and soaring prices, there are worries there will be a large spike in criminal activity.

 

Faith Kitchen, customer segment director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Schools are far more vulnerable during the summer holidays when school buildings are closed and largely unoccupied, tempting opportunists. It is vital that schools take steps to protect their premises from unscrupulous offenders. There are a number of measures schools can take to better secure school property and assets, which would ideally be a combination of both physical and electronic protection. Fencing around the perimeter can often offer a good first line of defence against unwanted visitors, while CCTV can act as a visual deterrent for those not wanting to be caught on camera. We urge schools across the country take steps to protect themselves from criminals and follow our guidance.”

 

How to protect schools this summer

 

  • Ensure CCTV systems have remote 24/7 monitoring services. Monitoring and alerting the police is far more effective than tracing criminals after a crime has taken place.
  • Install remotely monitored intruder alarms and change alarm security codes and passwords on a regular basis.
  • Install security lighting systems that have motion sensors to detect body movements.
  • Restrict access to school premises. Well-designed perimeter security such as walls, fences and electric security gates, and anti-climb paint help to prevent people from getting onto school sites.
  • Restrict vehicular access to the school site. Locate any designated parking as far from the school building as possible. The further thieves have to travel on foot the greater the risk of detection.
  • Use security marking systems such as SmartWater which can help with successful prosecution of thieves.
  • Ask the local community near your school to be vigilant and report any unusual or suspicious activity they notice on school grounds.
  • Inform neighbourhood watch schemes / police liaison officers of planned work over the holidays as thieves might pose as contractors.
  • Seek advice. Specialist insurers can offer advice and expertise to help schools manage security risks. Insurers can offer a combination of onsite and remote risk management services including security assessments and advice, alongside broader property protection and building valuation services. 

Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a range of risk management support and guidance to help schools manage the risks they face. For more information, visit the Hub for Education.