Vandals to be caught on camera

7 March, 2019

Salford School principal Robin Harris with the shade sails which have been subjected to potential damage from older children climbing on them after school hours.  Photo: Southland Express

RISKY behaviour, vandalism and costly repair bills have prompted a north Invercargill primary school to install CCTV cameras to catch the culprits.

Salford School principal Robin Harris said school property had been vandalised by older children outside school hours – an ongoing problem over several years.

In one instance, they had climbed onto the roof of the hall, damaging the roofing panels, causing the roof to leak. He said the repair bill was about $2500.

In another case, young people had swung on data cables hanging between the buildings and damaged them.

The cost of repairs had been about $2000.

Teachers had seen older children lying on the shade sails above the school’s sandpit.

Barbecue tables, which had been bought through fundraising by the school’s Parent Teacher Association, had also been broken, he said.

Because the cost of the damages had not exceeded the threshold for reimbursement from the Ministry of Education, the school had had to find the money for the repairs, he said. “It is wasted money in terms of repairs.

“It is also a health and safety issue.”

The board of trustees had decided to install five CCTV cameras around the school grounds in a bid to deter and identify offenders. He said they were expected to be installed and be operational by the end of the term.

“This is a proactive move to stop it.”

Mr Harris said the cameras cost $5000, $2500 of which the school had raised with the balance being secured through an ILT Foundation grant.

The Ministry of Education’s acting head of education, infrastructure, Rob Giller said schools were encouraged to take measures to manage security.

These could include building strong community linkages, creating an effective school boundary and installing appropriate lighting and security cameras, he said.

“Security cameras are one measure as part of a security system. They can assist in discouraging vandals, maintaining a safe environment for students and staff and keeping a record of goings-on at the school.

“Board of Trustees aren’t required to report what security measures they have selected to us, so we don’t have data on the number with the systems across state schools,” he said.

Credit: Southland Express