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Security initiative reduces vandalism in Porirua

Security initiative reduces vandalism in Porirua East Schools

A task force initiative set up in Porirua City just before the Christmas break to attack vandalism and graffiti in vulnerable Porirua East schools has worked with the principals reporting huge reductions in damage and graffiti over the holiday period.

Trespass notices were placed in schools, increased security measures and prompt police response were part of the approach which has been given the thumbs up by principals of Corinna, Russell, Cannons Creek and Natone Park primary schools and Porirua College.

In feedback to the task force this week the schools reported startling results with comments such as: 'best ever', 'huge improvement', 'it was great to come back to school' and 'really positive public response'.

Inspector John Spence, Kapiti Mana Area Police Commander, says the comments were "extremely heartening" to hear.

"It was clear that the situation in some of these schools towards the end of last year was spiraling out of control and something had to be done - even if it meant drastic action."

That action was to reduce the number of people in the schools after 5pm by refusing to allow people into the grounds after hours.

A task force of Police, school principals, Porirua City Guardians, Ministry of Education officials and security consultants chaired by Porirua City Council Chief Executive Roger Blakeley was convened in December.

The task force was briefed on the huge amount of resources, financial and time, that was spent fixing damage and removing graffiti in five schools in Porirua East.

After agreement from all parties, trespass notices were placed in the schools and this was backed up by an increase in security patrols by security guards and the Porirua City Guardians, installation of security cameras and prompt attendance by police to deal with anyone found in the schools that refused to leave when asked.

"To refuse people access into school grounds after hours is extreme but this tough action has been vindicated by the significant reduction in graffiti and vandalism in those five schools," Inspector Spence says. "The Task Force is totally committed to reducing money spent on clearing up damage and graffiti. This is money better spent elsewhere and improves the environment for students."

The Task Force decided at its meeting yesterday to continue security measures at the schools throughout this term with patrols from Security Guards and the Porirua City Guardians. Security cameras will continue to operate in some of the schools and security patrols will be backed up by police if people refuse to leave school grounds. Larger trespass signs will also be erected in the short term.

"The task force will meet again before the end of term to review progress and to set strategies for the next school holidays," Inspector Spence says.

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