THE cost of mindless vandalism in schools was cut IN HALF over the summer holidays and saved more than £12,000.
The Summer School Watch scheme helped slash the price of smashed windows, break-ins and damage from £24,373 last year to £12,023.
Superintendent Donald McCallum described the project as “very successful” and praised everyone involved for their backing.
The top cop, who is sub-divisional officer for Renfrewshire, said: “Due to the support from our partner agencies and the local community, this initiative has been very successful in reducing break-ins and damage to schools across Renfrewshire during the summer holidays.
“Local police, in tandem with Neighbourhood Wardens, will continue their efforts to make a difference and reduce the type of crime that can blight a community and result in a considerable unnecessary financial drain on local authority funds.
“I would urge everyone to act responsibly and report anti-social behaviour and vandalism which occurs at, or around, school premises to their local police office.”
Last year youngsters and staff at Our Lady of Peace Primary in Linwood were shattered when vandals trashed their playground during the night.
A fence was kicked down, wooden seats ripped out, windows attacked and equipment smashed up – causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
The Summer School Watch scheme is run by Renfrewshire Council’s Antisocial Behaviour Investigations Team, community wardens and Strathclyde Police.
The aim of the scheme is to reduce the amount of vandalism to school buildings during the holidays.
Over the 2008 summer holidays the campaign targeted 14 schools across Renfrewshire, an increase from 10 the previous year.
This follows on from the success of the Spring School Watch scheme which saw a 48 per cent reduction in vandalism at schools over the Easter holidays.
The watches involve:
l properties being frequently patrolled by police and wardens.
l warning posters being circulated, warning that schools are covered by CCTV cameras and
l local residents being urged to report any anti-social behaviour to the police.
The council also put up shutters at schools which had been targeted by louts before.
The most impressive reduction has been in Paisley at Heriot Primary, in Foxbar, where costs of vandalism were reduced by 91 per cent.
Councillor Brian Lawson, the council’s Community Safety spokesman, said: “The scheme has been a great success. It has continued the achievements of the Spring School Watch by significantly reducing the amount of money having to be spent on repairing mindless vandalism such as smashing windows and damaging school property.
“This kind of anti-social behaviour blights our communities and uses up funds which could be much better spent to benefit local residents.”
Schools involved were: primaries – Heriot; St Peter’s; Bushes; St Catherine’s; St Charles’; St Cuthbert’s; St Anthony’s; St Benedict’s; Newmains; Arkleston; Rashielea and Bridge of Weir and Gryffe and Linwood high schools.