School vandalism bill 'tops £1m' in Scotland

Vandalism Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The Scottish Conservatives have called for stronger action to deal with vandalism

More than £1m was spent by councils on repairing vandalism at schools in the past year, according to figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives.

Following a Freedom of Information request, the party said about £20,000 was being spent to address the problem every week.

The council with the highest bill was Dundee, with £173,744.

Aberdeen spent £150,769 tackling the problem, while Edinburgh paid out £36,635.

The Conservatives said a number of councils did not respond to the request, including Glasgow, Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire, Moray, Perth and Kinross, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian.

Western Isles Council said it spent no money at all on repairing school vandalism.

Mary Scanlon MSP, the Scottish Conservatives' education spokeswoman, said: "Every penny spent on sorting out damage to school buildings is money that could be focused on children's education.

"It's alarming that such a considerable sum is being spent addressing vandalism in Scotland's schools.

"These irresponsible acts cause distress to communities and inconvenience to staff and pupils.

"Much tougher action is required to punish the offenders and ensure they have to pay back the costs they impose on society. Stronger action would also help deter others considering acts like this."

Council Money spent on repairing school vandalism in 2013/14
Aberdeen City £150,769.54
Aberdeenshire £47,902.16
Angus £15,597
Argyll & Bute n/a
Clackmannanshire £26,206.71
Dumfries & Galloway £21,562.04
Dundee City £173,744.34
East Ayrshire £26,324.94
East Dunbartonshire n/a
East Lothian £21,123
East Renfrewshire £24,663.49
Edinburgh City £36,635.33
Eilean Siar (Western Isles) None
Falkirk £92,000
Fife £154,981
Glasgow n/a
Highland £40,744.48
Inverclyde £24,524.97
Midlothian £10,715.05
Moray n/a
North Ayrshire £62,130.27
North Lanarkshire £826.63
Orkney Islands £711.52
Perth & Kinross n/a
Renfrewshire £5,799.47
Scottish Borders £19,333.35
Shetland Islands £227.66
South Ayrshire £55,653
South Lanarkshire £23,261
Stirling £2,551
West Dunbartonshire n/a
West Lothian n/a
TOTAL £1,037,987

Source - Scottish Conservative Party

In response to the findings, a Dundee City Council spokesman said: "The council has been working hard to apply risk management measures to reduce the impact and cost of vandalism on its buildings.

"New school buildings meet secured by design standards and we have carried out a rolling programme of improvements on older buildings. The council also works in partnership with Police Scotland in anti-vandalism education efforts with young people."

Fife Council's service manager, Louise Playford, said: "We take the issue of vandalism in our schools very seriously as it can cause real disruption in our school communities.

"Over the past few years we have improved security measures at a number of our schools with more CCTV cameras being installed and other systems being improved.

"Whilst we recognise that these costs are still significant, they have been reducing over recent years and we will continue to work with local police to try and prevent incidents where possible."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "The overwhelming majority of pupils in Scotland's schools are generally well-behaved.

"However, any vandalism inflicted on schools is totally unacceptable and we continue to work with schools, local authorities and through curriculum programmes to reduce instances of bad behaviour at school even further."

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