Decrease in arson attacks on Flintshire schools

Reporter:

Lois Hough

ARSON attacks on Flintshire schools have plummeted in the last five years.

Flintshire Council paid out more than £130,000 in 2005 to repair fire damage, but this fell to zero in 2009 because there were no arson incidents.

Cllr Nigel Steele-Mortimer, the council’s executive member for education and youth, said: “If people are determined to set fire to a school, it’s quite hard to stop them.

“Most of the arsonists are either pupils or ex-pupils who might want to get back at teachers or the system, but if they are leaving the school a satisfied pupil, then they are less likely to target it.

“The solution is to keep improving the schools.”

Opposition leader Cllr Aaron Shotton said schools were most vulnerable during the holidays.

He added: “There were some serious incidents a number of years ago which prompted a co-ordinated response between the council and North Wales Police.

“This led to the investment in CCTV cameras and the increased monitoring of vulnerable schools. These pleasing figures are a result of this.”

The cost of repairing vandalism has also fallen.

In 2008, the council spent £16,057 on cleaning up graffiti and repairing damaged property. This fell to £10,601 in 2009.

Tom Davies, head of development and resources at the council, said: “These figures show a pleasing trend as a result of the work done by a number of agencies, together with the council’s school security group.

“This multi-agency approach will be maintained to maximise grant funding and to minimise arson, vandalism and burglaries to Flintshire schools.”

See full story in the Leader

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