BBC News

School crime reports topped 30,000 in 2014

By Nicola Beckford
Reporter, BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme

Published
media captionFormer teacher Ian Corcoran: "I was threatened by a pupil wielding a hammer"

More than 30,000 alleged crimes linked to schools were reported to police in 2014, a BBC investigation has found.

The figure - for England, Wales and Northern Ireland - is equivalent to 160 allegations per school day. Theft and violent crime were the most common types of offence to be reported.

The NSPCC said the number of reported sexual offences - 1,502 - was worrying.

The government said crime had "no place in our schools" and it had given teachers greater powers to tackle it.

Data was collated from 32 forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which responded to a Freedom of Information request from the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

It is not known how many reports led to convictions.

'Footprint in schools'

A total of 30,394 crimes were reported place at primary schools, secondary schools and further education establishments - excluding universities - in 2014, according to the data of 32 forces. In 2013, there were 28,444 crime reports.

Theft, burglary or robbery was the most common offence, with 13,003 incidents reported. There were 9,319 reports of violent crime, 4,106 reports of criminal damage or arson, and 754 reported drugs offences.

Some forces did not provide data on sexual offences, citing the Data Protection Act. But in the 25 that did respond fully, 1,502 crimes were recorded.

The largest number of crimes were reported to the Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester Police and West Midlands Police.

Supt Laurence Taylor - the policing lead for children and young people at a regional level - believes it is key for police forces to have a continued footprint in schools.

"If we don't get it right with policing in schools, we miss opportunities to intervene at an early stage to prevent children's behavioural issues becoming more problematic in later life," he said.

'Back in charge'

"It is important we break down barriers between children and police, intervene early when problems do arise and support schools in pupils' education [regarding issues such as online safety]."

His force, Sussex Police, currently has 27 dedicated neighbourhood schools officers, who each work with a cluster of schools in the region.

But, he added, while some forces were investing more in schools officers, others were reducing their provisions because of pressure on resources.

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image captionFloral tributes were placed outside Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds after teacher Ann Maguire was stabbed to death in 2014

A government spokesman said: "Crime and violent behaviour have no place in our schools.

"We have put teachers back in charge of the classroom.

"They can search pupils without consent, confiscate prohibited items and use reasonable force to remove disruptive pupils from the classroom when necessary.

"We know many good schools already work with the police and other organisations to educate pupils and protect them from harm and involvement in crime."

Statistics by region

*Some of the data in these files has been redacted

**These files have limited data

Note: The data has come from Freedom of Information responses from 32 UK police forces. In some cases, data that could have led to the identification of individuals was removed. Data for Cambridgeshire Police was created by the BBC on the basis of information supplied by the force. Some forces included information about universities. These numbers were removed from the overall analysis.

Additional data research by Pupul Chatterjee and Antia Geada.

Watch Victoria Derbyshire on weekdays from 09:15-11:00 BST on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

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