Police called out to schools 826 times
POLICE have dealt with almost 200 violent incidents on school sites in the last two years.
Figures obtained by The Sentinel show violent or threatening behaviour now accounts for nearly one in four school-related cases reported to Staffordshire Police.
Details have not been released, but most of the victims are thought to have been pupils or other young people.
Police dealt with a total of 826 incidents in or around schools across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire between January 2011 and October 2012.
192 cases involving violence 'against the person' or a juvenile;
180 reports of theft, along with one case of a vehicle being stolen and a further seven cases where valuables were taken from vehicles;
Four firearms-related offences;
11 racist incidents and another alleged 'hate' crime where a disabled person was targeted;
11 drugs cases, including one involving the supply of drugs;
94 cases of criminal damage;
207 reported incidents of anti-social behaviour;
Six 'family incidents'.
Many of the offences took place during the evenings, weekends or holidays.
But a police spokesman said they were logged as school-related because they happened on school premises.
Theft remains one of the most common crimes and growing numbers of schools are being targeted by metal thieves.
During one Easter holiday period, burglars stripped hundreds of pounds' worth of lead and copper piping from buildings at Sneyd Green Primary School.
Headteacher Rosina Lee said: "In one of our Victorian buildings, the water tank is actually on the roof. They took the piping off it and the water came through the ceiling.
"In terms of the actual damage, it was about £30,000."
Although the school was covered by insurance, the impact was far-reaching and it took months for all the repair work to be completed.
Mrs Lee said: "It happened just before children were due to take their SATs. We worked hard to ensure they didn't lose any teaching time.
"But even though we were operational as a school, it wasn't a pleasant environment to come into and there were certain areas we couldn't use."
Weston Coyney Junior School also fell victim to crime during a spate of lead thefts in in 2011.
Sue Bourne, chairman of governors, said the school has now had to upgrade its security.
She added: "You've got to spend time and money. And that's money that could have been spent on the children's education."
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