Posted on July 05, 2022
West Dunbartonshire Council is to increase patrols around schools and childcare centers following a relentless spate of vandalism and anti-social behavior in schoolyards.
Officers from the Council’s Anti-Social Behavior Team will include educational premises during their community patrols and Police Scotland will also monitor sites to reduce senseless vandalism to school premises.
Police Scotland Crime Prevention Officers will work with the Council and Strathclyde Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to visit schools to educate pupils about the dangers of fire starting during safety awareness sessions fire.
In the latest incident, at Gavinburn Elementary School and Early Learning and Child Care Center (ELCC), vandals destroyed thousands of books of resources following an arson attack at the school .
Valuable children’s resources, including outdoor play equipment, rubber boots and overalls for outdoor play, were also lost to the fire and significant damage was caused to the entrance to the building. ‘ELCC, in particular to the external lighting and the alarm system.
Dalreoch ELCC in Dumbarton has also been the target of vandals destroying outdoor play equipment and Our Lady of Loretto Primary School and ELCC, in Clydebank, has also been singled out for regular vandalism to the property.
The Council is committed to ensuring that all damaged facilities and resources at Notre-Dame de Lorette are replaced to ensure they are ready for the children after the holidays.
Clydebank School reported several incidents of vandalism and anti-social behaviour, including damage to children’s bikes and helmets and damage to the outdoor education area.
In another incident, the children’s hut used as an outdoor classroom was deliberately set on fire and beautiful tire planters created by the children were destroyed. A sand pit enjoyed by the youngest children was also set on fire and the fence separating the playground from the school and the crèche was also badly damaged.
Councilor Clare Steel, Head of Educational Services, said: ‘Our families have been very upset by the senseless anti-social behavior and vandalism on our school grounds. It is very distressing not only for our employees, but for the children, seeing their loved ones deliberately damaged is difficult for them to understand. Our employees, with the support of families, work hard to create outdoor learning areas to teach our children and youth and to see them destroyed beyond repair is absolutely heartbreaking.
Councilor Craig Edward, Head of Housing and Communities, said: ‘West Dunbartonshire Council has zero tolerance for this behavior and our anti-social team will work closely with Police Scotland to take the most appropriate action against any identified offenders. . Children shouldn’t have to go through this at any age, but especially our younger children who don’t understand why anyone would want to destroy their special areas. We are taking swift action to prevent any further vandalism and in partnership with Police Scotland, our Anti-Social Behavior team will increase patrols around schools to discourage these young people from entering the grounds and causing senseless acts of vandalism.
Chief Inspector Coleen Wylie said: ‘We are aware of these recent issues involving incidents of anti-social behavior around schools and we are acutely aware of the disruptive effect this can have on the community.
“Local officers are working closely with partners, including West Dunbartonshire Council, to address these issues.
“Dedicated patrols are carried out in the affected areas, with officers reassuring the community and discouraging anti-social behavior.
“We are committed to encouraging people to stay away from this type of behavior, but we will take appropriate action when incidents are reported and offenders identified.
“Anyone concerned about anti-social behavior in their area is encouraged to contact the police by calling 101 as soon as possible.”