Monday, 17 August 2009

Schools crime down with WAG grants

THE Welsh Assembly Government says its special funding to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Welsh schools has been successful, with nine of the schools in the ‘target hardening’ scheme seeing a 100% reduction.

In 2007 the Welsh Assembly Government announced a £12million three-year grant programme to provide sprinklers in schools vulnerable to arson. Security improvement grants were also made available to schools unable, at the time, to benefit from full sprinkler installations. Funding was targeted at schools which had been subject to on-going anti-social behaviour.

During the first year of the programme 47 schools across Wales received a total of £508,000 towards security, including CCTV, fencing and safer storage of rubbish/recycling areas. Evaluation of these projects has shown significant reductions in anti-social behaviour and crime at the schools involved. Some have reported 100% reduction. The average reduction was 89%.

Social Justice and Local Government Minister Dr Brian Gibbons said:

“I am very pleased with the evaluation of the first projects. These schools have had persistent problems with arson, vandalism, graffiti and anti-social behaviour and a 100% reduction in 9 schools, and an average of 89% across the 47, is an excellent result.

"No amount of protection will deter the determined criminal. Nevertheless, this programme has shown that for relatively small amounts of money we can have a big impact on deterring the opportunist criminal.”

Education Minister Jane Hutt said:

“School premises must be protected for the safety of pupils and their uninterrupted education. This programme is a perfect example of the Welsh Assembly Government working in partnership with the Fire and Rescue Service, Local Authorities and schools to achieve this.”

Grants totalling £575,000 were awarded to 52 schools in 2008-09 and £400,000 is available this year to ensure that more schools can benefit from this programme. Full evaluation of the three year programme will be undertaken when the scheme ends in 2010.


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