Schools have a legal obligation to safeguard the health, safety, and wellbeing of the children in their care under the Children's Act 2004. And while staff are often highly conscious of safeguarding issues, there are often physical security issues that fly under the radar.
If left unresolved, these security threats could result in serious risks to students and staff.
Let’s now address some common security vulnerabilities faced by schools, and outline how these risks can be mitigated using security technology.
1. Visitors And Trespassers
Visitors and trespassers can pose a wide range of risks to schools and their students. From serious offences such as child endangerment and abductions, supplying drugs or alcohol to minors, and crimes against school property such as vandalism, having even one unidentified individual on-site can cause serious harm to your school and the children and staff within it.
Many schools handle this issue by simply asking visitors to report to reception, where they can be escorted around the site by a member of staff. But staff may not always be able - or available - to keep a constant eye on a visitor.
This means trespassers can sometimes enter school grounds unnoticed, or that visitors can slip away from their staff escort. As such, schools should always have policies and procedures in place for managing visitors, including the appropriate security technology to identify and monitor the movements of persons on site.
Some simple methods that can be used to reduce the risk of trespassers include:
• A Secure Perimeter - Your school’s perimeter plays a crucial role in keeping unauthorised visitors off school property.
You should carry out regular perimeter checks to ensure your fencing hasn’t been damaged or tampered with, as this can create points of entry where trespassers can easily access school grounds. You may also consider switching your fencing to an anti-climb fence, or increasing the height of your perimeter, to prevent potential intruders from scaling the structure.
• Access Controls - Access controls are a simple way to identify who is entering which area of the school grounds, and when. Access control cards ensure that only authorised personnel can enter restricted areas, and will also act as an easily available form of ID.
Using this technology, you can simultaneously prevent visitors from entering restricted areas and provide a method of ID for individuals to identify themselves to members of security.
• CCTV Systems - Some schools can be hesitant to install CCTV for safeguarding reasons. However, it can be highly effective for deterring trespassers, and for locating any intruders who do enter the school grounds.
Consider installing CCTV around your perimeter, especially in areas that may be particularly vulnerable - such as dark corners, entrances, and gateways.
But remember, you should always notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of the instalment of any new CCTV system, while including the reasons you have chosen to install CCTV.
If there was an emergency on your school premises, would your team be able to effectively communicate about the situation?
Many schools ban staff members from using mobile phones on school grounds due to safeguarding issues. However, if there was an imminent threat to the safety of those on-site and staff were unable to communicate it to security, this could present a serious safety issue.
Therefore, you should consider how your staff can raise the alarm during any type of emergency.
Ask yourself the following:
• Could your staff communicate clearly in the event of a fire?
• Could your staff communicate clearly and discreetly during a violent attack?
• Could your staff communicate clearly if a child has an accident or a health emergency?
Some simple methods that can be used to improve communication during emergencies include:
• Distress alarms to raise the alert of a fire or health emergency
• Installing a silent alarm for use during an assault or threatening interaction
• Ensuring staff are equipped with telephone handsets if mobile phones are prohibited on school grounds
3. School Burglaries
Schools often contain highly valuable equipment and objects such as computers, cash, and personal items, placing them at high risk of burglary. And if a school is targeted by burglars, it can suffer serious financial losses as a consequence.
Some simple methods that can be used to prevent burglaries include:
• Installing A CCTV System - CCTV is a highly effective deterrent for theft-related crimes and burglaries. By installing a CCTV system, you can prevent burglaries before they happen, thereby eliminating any potential financial loss and damage to the premises.
A CCTV system will also capture footage of the intruders, making it easier for them to be apprehended by the police. Plus, you can use CCTV footage of the incident as evidence in any insurance claims, helping you claim back any money you lost due to a burglary.
• Installing An Intruder Alarm - If a burglar does decide to enter school property, an intruder alarm will alert a member of your school security team so that they can take action.
Plus, by using an intruder alarm you will have a precise record of when the alarm sounded and what the point of entry was, all of which will be valuable information to report to the police.
Vandalism is a common problem in schools throughout the UK.
Frequently, the crime is committed by students of the school during school hours, or by vandals who target the school when it is closed, often by scaling the perimeter fence.
Some simple methods to prevent vandalism include:
• Replacing or raising the level of your fencing, or applying anti-climb paint to walls
• Installing CCTV systems to deter criminals and capture video footage of vandals that can be used in criminal proceedings and/or insurance claims
Want to use top-quality security techniques to protect your school, college, or other educational premises from intruders? Give our expert team a call!