Crime in schools: 30,000 incidents reported to police last year

Reports of crime in schools rose to more than 30,000 incidents last year, according to new figures.

The data shows that theft and violence were among the most common offences reported.

Across primary, secondary and further education institutions, there were 13,003 thefts, burglaries or robberies recorded, 9,319 reports of violence and 4,106 investigations into criminal damage or arson.

At least 1,502 sex crimes were reported, according to the 25 police forces that provided data on sexual offences.

In all, 32 police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland responded to a Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC, with the Metropolitan, Greater Manchester and West Midlands forces recording the highest number of crimes.

The overall figure of 30,294 reported incidents in 2014 was up from 28,444 the previous year.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told TES that while the figure sounded “very high”, it equated to approximately one report per school.

“Obviously, we would want to be in a situation where there is no crime in school and heads don’t need to call the police,” Mr Trobe said. “School leaders will always use their discretion and try to deal with matters internally, but where someone has clearly broken the law then they will have to call the police.”

Schools often had good links with community liaison officers, he added.

Superintendent Laurence Taylor of Sussex Police, regional policing lead for children and young people, said it was important for police forces to have a presence in schools.

“If we don’t get it right with policing in schools, we miss opportunities to intervene at an early stage to prevent children’s behavioural issues becoming more problematic in later life,” he told the BBC.

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