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Joint bid to curb Highland vandalism (19/06/06)
With school holidays looming, The Highland Council and Northern Constabulary are working together to highlight to pupils in the 29 Highland secondary schools the burden borne by the Council Tax payer in repairing damage caused by vandalism, the drain on police time in investigating the crimes and the negative impact on communities.
Police officers will be visiting schools before the end of this month to join with Head Teachers in outlining the significant issues that are attached to acts of vandalism, which in Inverness alone are running at 50 cases per week.
The Council will also try to address the challenge through the curriculum and janitors will be asked to be particularly vigilant over the next few months in checking premises as often as possible for any indications of vandalism.
Bruce Robertson, Director of Education Culture and Sport, said: “As we approach the summer holiday period, the perennial issue of vandalism to our schools looms even larger. Statistics locally and nationally demonstrate that there are significant increases in acts of vandalism during the school holiday period.
“We want to raise awareness of the very significant costs of vandalism. Each year the Council has to spend £200,000 on repairing damage to our schools and offices. The repairs are not covered by insurance and therefore the money must be met by the Council Tax payer.
“Every pound that we spend on vandalism is a pound less available for school books, teachers' salaries and the like, and I am sure we would all agree that the issue of school vandalism must be tackled."
Chief Inspector Donald Buntain of Northern Constabulary, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Council on this important initiative and we hope this positive action of visiting secondary schools will help reduce the incidence of vandalism.
“We want to get the message across that it is the parents and guardians of the vandals who have to pick up most of the cost of repairs damage caused by vandalism through their Council Tax bills.
“The cost to society of vandalism includes not only the repairs but is a significant drain on the criminal justice system and social services to record and investigate crimes. It also has a significantly negative impact on the wellbeing of the community.”