A recent article in the Australian Herald Sun, commenting on school security has fuelled the debate regarding the best strategies to adopt to improve the safety of the school environment.
In Australia, just 826 of the state of Victoria’s 2240 public schools are protected by perimeter security fences at a cost of $96 million, with Education Minister Adrian Piccoli suggesting that ‘not every school needed one’ following risk assessments conducted by the Department of Education’s Safety and Security Directorate. Whilst risk assessments are clearly an effective means of prioritizing which schools are most acutely exposed to a heightened risk, it is difficult to accept a view that certain schools should be left with absolutely no physical security measures. In light of various atrocities, which have taken place in schools across the globe, it is impossible to identify where an attack might take place – surely it would be better to reduce the risk in ALL schools?
Mr Picoli goes on to advise that schools which have adopted enhanced physical security measures via the installation of security fencing have reported ‘a significant reduction in the number of break and enter and vandalism incidents’ – surely this underpins the necessity for such measures and is a contradiction to the minister’s earlier comments?
Certainly, we would agree with Mr Picoli’s view that security fencing should form part of an overall plan which addresses the entire security architecture of the site. But whilst the Education Minister advises the inclusion of security guards, electronic surveillance, security alarms, lockdown devices for computers and other equipment and CCTV, he also makes the point that incident reports show that intruders still get on to school grounds and pose a threat to students and teachers. The fact is that CCTV will only provide assistance in terms of notifying security staff that something has happened – and that possibly the perpetrators have already accessed the site. It does nothing to provide any form of physical defence which will act as an effective deterrent.
Today, schools need to respond to the need for a heightened code of security conduct, and to infer that not all schools should consider a form of security fencing is no different to suggesting that not all shops require doors. Physical security is essential. Without it, schools put their pupils, staff and assets at risk ….
Comments made by Richard Jackson, CEO Jacksons Fencing.
For further information on physical security measures for schools visit www.jacksons-security.co.uk/school_security_fencing.aspx