Police School Watch appeal

As we approach the school holidays once again, police in Ballymoney are appealing for the whole community to support the ‘School Watch’ initiative and help protect our local schools over the summer break when they are closed.

Local Commander Chief Inspector Brenda Cairns (pictured right) called on the local community to help the police prevent vandalism and bring vandals to task.

Chief Inspector Cairns said, “Attacks on schools generally range from broken windows and graffiti but on some occasions have been more serious including arson and burglary.

“Vandalism is disheartening and it is frustrating to see how these mindless acts affect schools that have worked hard to maintain buildings and create a safe environment for pupils throughout the whole year. This in turn has a really negative effect on the entire community and I would ask members of the public to assist police in reducing this type of crime. No one wants to see teachers and pupils return to a school which has been vandalised or to come in over the summer to clear up after criminals.”

Chief Inspector Cairns continued, “This type of criminal damage diverts funding towards repairing and away from extra staff to help the children learn and on much needed school resources such as books and computer equipment. Money is also being spent on securing premises with window grills, alarm systems, security cameras, fences and other crime reduction devices.”

“We would ask anyone who lives near to a school to be extra vigilant and report anyone acting suspiciously to police on 999 immediately. We would also urge parents to be aware of what young people are up to and where they are when they are not at home.

“Please also remember that people should not confront possible criminals,that responsibility belongs to us, but public information is vital to helping local police respond effectively. If you see anything unusual or anyone acting suspiciously on school premises after hours or during holidays to telephone police on 0845 600 8000 or in an emergency dial 999 and ask for the service you require”.

Alternatively information about crime can be passed to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.