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  • Criminals ‘targeting independent schools’ during pandemic

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    New research from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has found almost six in 10 (58%) independent schools are experiencing crime on their property or through nefarious cyber activities.

    The survey found that over a quarter (26%) of independent schools had suffered anti-social behaviour since the start of the pandemic, higher than the 16% experienced by schools overall. Trespassing (15%), graffiti (17%), cyber-crime (17%) and theft of laptops or devices (12%), were also cited as top crimes experienced by independent schools.

    A third of independent school teachers (37%) felt their school was more vulnerable to crime during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing fewer staff on site during the national lockdowns and entrances being left open more frequently to increase air ventilation, when schools were closed.

    Three quarters (75%) of the independent schools surveyed had introduced new measures to protect the school and deter criminals since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a third (36%) of those schools introduced CCTV, almost a third (30%) fitted alarms, and a fifth (23%) built more security fencing.

    These concerns and reports of crime are much higher in independent schools in comparison to other types of schools. Three in five (58%) independent schools experienced some form of crime over the last 12 months, compared to 35% of schools surveyed overall.

    Faith Kitchen, Education Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Independent schools have been far more vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and other forms of crime over the last year. School properties were often left largely unoccupied or even empty when schools were closed to the majority of pupils, tempting opportunists. For schools, crime experienced within school property can be a stressful event for teachers, as it is they who are left to deal with the implications of teaching without laptops or equipment, while leadership has to tackle the expenses incurred.

    “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.”

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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