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School building security

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When looking at the security of your school you should start at the perimeter (site boundary) and work your way in. Looking for areas of concern allows you to identify potential measures which could be used to address them. Our leaflet on school security contains a checklist to help you assess your site. [link]

Good access control measures should be a priority for daytime security of the school and the personal safety of all users. As well as protecting school members, overt access control shows would-be offenders that security is taken seriously within the site, helping to deter them.

Windows and external door security

The main entrance door to the school should incorporate some degree of access control such as a remote electronic lock release device incorporating an intercom and visual verification if this entrance is not overlooked from the office/reception.

All windows and doors should be checked to ensure the locking mechanisms are in working order, and are suitable for purpose, providing the correct level of security against the risks posed.

All doors should be sufficiently solid and adequately secured against potential break-in. Action should be taken to address any identified weaknesses. All fire exits doors should be devoid of external door furniture.

All ground floor or other easily accessible windows above ground floor level should have suitable key operable locks fitted for additional security. Security bars or grilles can be considered for the most vulnerable windows. 

Consideration should be given to permanently securing windows not required for ventilation or other health and safety reasons.

Windows that are frequently the target of vandalism can be a major drain upon building maintenance budgets. To reduce this type of incidences consider:

  • Keeping yards and grounds free from any material that could be used as ammunition
  • Reducing the amount of glazing. Sometimes windowpanes can be replaced by solid panels without noticeably reducing natural lighting levels
  • Use of laminated glass in vulnerable areas
  • Use of adhesive security film

Daytime security of vulnerable spaces

Offices, staff rooms, IT suites and store rooms within a school will require additional security measures to protect against the casual walk-in thief who may seek to target computing equipment or and smaller personal items such as mobile phones, wallets or purses. Doors to these rooms should be fitted with self-closure devices and suitable access control locks such as numeric keypads or electromagnetic locks with proximity or swipe card facility. These give greater control over who accesses a particular room or area and limits use to authorised personnel only.

Protecting IT equipment

All computer equipment should be discreetly security marked using property marking equipment, i.e. www.selectamark.co.uk and then registered with Immobilise at www.immobilise.co.uk

All computers, including those used for administrative purposes, require additional security features to prevent theft or someone tampering with them.

A register of all serial numbers and/or unit passwords should be available at the school and be the responsibility of a Single Point of Contact (SPOC). This will assist with the identification of individual units should they be recovered, and can assist the police with the arrest of offenders.

Secure stores for high-value items 

Intruders are unconcerned about damage and are willing to destroy several items of equipment to steal one. A secure store area should always be considered for the storage of items most at risk such as computer projectors, laptops, digital cameras, musical instruments, money.

The following list sets out the standards required for a secure store – while it may not be possible to meet them all because of a school’s construction and materials, identifying the most secure area and using suitable security measures to protect it are important.

  • A secure store should resist attack by any means up to, but excluding, power tools and flame cutters for at least 15 minutes. Existing rooms will require considerable adaptation before they can meet the 15-minute rule
  • A secure store should be located centrally within the school and above ground floor where possible
  • Ensure the approach and the room itself are covered by the school’s intruder alarm system
  • Security measures needed to protect the room may include roller shutters, grilles/bars/ locks. Doors must be designed to withstand attack
  • Windows should be protected using roller shutters or collapsible grilles
  • Walls should offer the same resistance as doors and windows e.g. attack with sledge hammers
  • Access through ceiling voids or from roofs should be prevented

To speak to our crime prevention team about school security email crimeprevention@northants.pnn.police.uk

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