April 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Police have credited the success of partnerships between officers and Norfolk schools for a big fall in crimes recorded at schools over the past three years.
Criminal damage - 182
Theft - 174
Violence against person - 134
Burglary - 79
Theft from motor vehicle - 13
Theft - 348
Violence against person - 279
Criminal damage - 107
Drugs - 51
Sexual offences - 32
According to figures the EDP obtained through a Freedom of Information request, the number of crimes in all Norfolk schools fell by 27pc between 2010-11 to 2012-13, from 604 to 439.
The biggest drop, of 29pc, came in secondary schools, nine of which have a police officer present through the week, while all others have a PCSO working with them one day a week.
Crime was down 25pc at primary schools, which all have a single point of police contact, usually a PCSO.
Sgt Tim Horrobin, of the safer schools partnership, said the strategy focuses mainly on attendance, behaviour, and safeguarding, and its engagement with schools was reviewed in January 2010.
2010-11 (recorded crimes)
City of Norwich School - 25
King Edward VII School, King’s Lynn - 19
Great Yarmouth High School - 18
Hewett School, Norwich - 16
Open Academy, Norwich - 14
City of Norwich School - 14
Taverham High School - 13
Fakenham High School and College - 13
Ormiston Venture Academy, Gorleston - 12
Neatherd High School, Dereham - 12
Eaton Hall School - 12
Taverham High School - 13
Springwood High School, King’s Lynn - 13
City Academy, Norwich - 13
Hewett School, Norwich - 9
Open Academy, Norwich - 9
Name withheld because of small number of pupils - 9
Downham Market Academy - 9
He added: “They are set up to provide early intervention provision and support. We are trying to provide a problem-solving approach to issues, and add value to what schools can do quite well for themselves.”
He said one example was police being better than schools at finding problems within a family that might affect attendance.
He added that one key part of the strategy is to stop situations escalating, and resolve them through restorative means, allowing young people to learn from their mistakes without criminalising them.
Of the four categories where significant numbers of crime were recorded at primary schools, only violence against the person showed a small rise, from 40 to 52 and back down to 42 over the last three years.
Sgt Horrobin said most of these incidents were likely to be verbal spats in the playground.
In secondary schools, the three most prevalent types of crime – theft, violence against the person and criminal damage – all saw numbers fall significantly, although the number of drugs offences rose from 12 to 21 before falling to 18.
Sgt Horrobin said the “vast majority” of these were pupils found with cannabis.
City of Norwich School had the most crimes reported in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, but was not in the top five last year.
Headteacher Jim Nixon said most recorded crimes in 2010-11 related to several mobile phones being taken from the sports hall at the same time.
He added: “Our leadership style is to be ‘out and about’, going into lessons and walking the corridors. This not only gives us a clear picture of teaching and learning but also makes our presence felt around the school. Staff and students value this approach.
“We also have excellent links with Norfolk Police, and our PCSO Julie Sayer is a very valuable resource.”
Mick Castle, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “We welcome the decline in reported crime at Norfolk’s schools.
“Headteachers and school staff work extremely hard to ensure their schools are safe places to learn and teach and incidents are extremely rare – particularly when you consider there are nearly 110,000 children in the county’s schools.
“Schools have a balance to strike between welcoming the local community and safeguarding the welfare of their students and usually get this balance right.
“Schools are also careful to control who comes on to premises, as part of their wider safeguarding policies.”