Fife worst hit by vandals
Published 6 Apr 2012 06:03 7 Comments
FIFE is the worst hit area of Scotland for school vandalism, new figures have revealed.
In 2011, the cost to the taxpayer for damage to schools in the Kingdom was a massive £320,935, almost £100,000 more than the next region, Glasgow.
In one of the worst incidents, it cost £4000 to clear pipes at Inverkeithing High School which had been deliberately blocked with art clay.
Figures obtained under Freedom of Information showed there were 5754 separate acts of vandalism across Scotland last year costing the taxpayer a whopping £1,583,552.
However, the final sum could be even higher as some local authorities do not have details for damage done to PPP-run schools.
The figures for other areas include £223,520 for Glasgow, £119,939 in Aberdeenshire, £143,771 in Dundee and £68,134 in North Ayrshire.
Fife Council's service manager Louise Playford said, "We take the issue of vandalism in our schools very seriously as it can cause real disruption in our school communities.
"Over the past few years we have improved security measures at a number of our schools with more CCTV cameras being installed and other systems being improved.
"Whilst we recognise that these costs are still significant, they have been reducing over recent years and we will continue to work with local police to try and prevent incidents where possible."
Head of Operations for Fife Constabulary's Central Policing Division, Superintendent Alex Duncan, said, "Fife Constabulary has had considerable success in tackling the issue of vandalism and we have set up teams of officers dedicated solely to this task.
"Officers in Rosyth recently apprehended a number of young persons who were responsible for breaking numerous windows at a school in the town and there have been numerous other positive results throughout Fife.
"We will continue to work hard to detect these crimes and will also continue to work with our partners in Fife Council to look at ways in which we can make this type of crime more difficult to commit."
A spokesman added that Fife Constabulary is "committed to 'Taking Policing Closer to the Community' and our ongoing efforts to reduce anti-social behaviour, including crimes of vandalism, has seen a reduction of 23 per cent in reported crimes of this type".
The spokesman continued, "In 2010/2011, there were nearly 3000 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour as compared to the previous year and initiatives such as Operations LASER (Local Action Supporting Enforcement and Reassurance) and 'Crack-it' have seen an increase in the number of police officers patrolling the streets of Fife and a rise in detection rates to 65 per cent.
Councillor Douglas Chapman, chair of children's services in Fife, said, "This is the danger of FoI requests. They do not always give a true like-for-like picture in comparing areas.
"Certain specific incidents can skew the figures. In most things I don't think Fife is generally better or worse than other parts of Scotland."
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Apr 6, 16:24
Councillor Chapman is entirely right to say that care should be taken when comparing statistical data on the relative performance of, for example, local authorities or schools as there can be local factors or one-off events that might distort the data. However, given that 'one of the worst' incidents is said to have cost Fife Council only £4,000, while damage in Fife cost almost £100,000 more even than in Glasgow, these figures would seem to suggest that Fife Council and Fife Constabulary are not performing as well as their counterparts elsewhere in the country in tackling this issue. To suffer damage exceeding that in the next poorest performing local authority area by nearly 50% is a serious concern.
This sort of anomaly is precisely what the FoI regime is supposed to highlight. Faced with empirical data, it is not enough to say that 'I don't think that Fife is generally better or worse than other parts of Scotland'. That is simply an unsubstantiated statement of opinion. Fife is much better than most in, for example, recycling rates, but is clearly at the bottom of the league when it comes to tackling school vandalism. If all the police can do is cite the apprehending of some young persons who broke windows at one school - welcome though that is - there would seem to be an issue with their ability to tackle the specific issue of schoool vandalism. They may be throwing resource at the issue, but are they using that resource effectively?
Rather than criticise the data or claim that there is no problem, it would be better for both Fife Council and Fife Constabulary to look at what others are doing to see what lessons they can learn.
Recommend? Yes 17 No 42
Apr 8, 09:33
The cops know who these scrotes and their parent(s) are, however despite putting them in front of the children's panel or the courts, until there is a deterrent then this kind of behaviour will go on and on and on.
Too many do-gooders and wishy-washy liberals who somehow shout louder than the rest of us.
Recommend? Yes 34 No 43
Apr 10, 20:48
Dexexpress you're quite right to point out that the figures seem fairly clear. Councillor Chapman is just attempting to sweep the problem under the carpet in time honoured fashion instead of publicising it to try to reduce the hooliganism and costs to all of us.
You'd think that councillors would take their constituents' side in these sorts of case but as ever the first thought is to hide anything which might count against his party in the forthcoming elections.
Recommend? Yes 10 No 31
Apr 12, 12:04
Folks, if you think that school vandalisms in Glasgow only cosy in the region of £220'000 you are clearly all to keen to believe what you read in print! Think about that figure for a moment...
Cllr Chapman hit the nail on the head- there is a clear risk of believing 'like for like' FOI data as different wards collate, record and disseminate their data differently.
Is tackling school vandalism an issue solely for the cops or is it an issue for every one of us? It's very easy to point the finger at police but when the schools present themselves as weak targets and communities "don't want to get involved" and tackle these issues, what hope is there?
I admire the sentiment of the comment made the TheDEXExpress above, but do you really think that Fife Council/ Constabularly is not out there looking to learn from others? Trust me, there aren't many lessons to be learned from counterparts in North Ayrshire (whose claimed figure of £68'000 seems madness...)
Recommend? Yes 3 No 8
Apr 12, 17:15
Hi insider. I agree entirely with you that everyone has a duty here, not just the police and the schools themselves. I also agree that there are lies, damned lies and statistics, as I acknowledged initially.
Nevertheless, we have been presented with data here that suggest that the damage costs more in Fife than elsewhere. The onus has shifted to Fife Council to show why that is not the case, if indeed it is not so. For example, if other councils record damage caused by vandalism differently, let's hear about that. By contrast, the response seems to be simply that the figures that others are quoting 'seems madness'. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. But unless I see something more concrete by way of rebuttal, I'm inclined to think that the position is as the data suggest. If North Ayrshire is performing better, why wouldn't we want to know why that is?
FoI is not a perfect tool, and the output needs to be interpreted with care and common sense. But by getting these sort of data out in the public domain, it forces public agencies to justify their performance. It might cost a bit and be an irritant to some in the public sector, but it should lead to more effective use of public money. I'm genuinely suprised that The Press itself does not use it more.
Recommend? Yes 8 No 7
Apr 13, 11:55
May 3, 04:43
Bring back Bill pratt and Swanson , not scared to kick ass when required . Police , you're a joke. Speeding fines , parking tickets are your forte , moving on taxis whilst waiting for female passengers getting money from auto teller in east port at dark o' clock ? What planet are you on ? By the way , in reply to cenobite , Nobody watches cctv in Fife. Stacks of cameras , just lack of training , it costs too much . I'll watch cctv 24 / 7 for £600.00 a week (tax free of course ) I'll save you a fortune. Charge the parents of these scroats for damage to property or stop their benefits !
Recommend? Yes 0 No 0