Belfast Telegraph

Crime in schools increasing, police reports show

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

The data, obtained by the BBC under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws, showed 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.

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

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

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

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 broadcaster.

"It is important we break down barriers between children and police, intervene early when problems do arise and support schools in pupils' education (regarding issues such as online safety)."

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