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Bill to improve school security put at Pounds 20m

The cost of installing "modest" security precautions in Scottish schools could total Pounds 20 million, it was claimed this week.

Ian McDonald, Glasgow's depute director of education, told a conference on school security held less than a week after the publication of Lord Cullen's report on the Dunblane tragedy: "In Glasgow alone to put in fairly modest measures - controlled entry systems in primary schools, CCTV in secondaries and improved fencing and lighting in both - will come to about Pounds 3 million. "

The cost of improving security at all Scotland's schools would be in the region of Pounds 20 million. "Unless we get serious funding like that we won't be able to assure parents that schools are as safe as they would like. We are saying quite loudly that local government does need genuine financial support. Without that investment we won't be able to persuade parents they don't need fortress schools, only secure ones."

Around 100 delegates from schools, councils, colleges and universities attended the conference organised by the Scottish Security Association in Renfrew.

Assistant Chief Constable Crispian Strachan of Strathclyde police, who chaired the meeting, said East Dunbartonshire had recently conducted a security inspection of Bearsden primary, which is attended by two of his four children. "Like 99 per cent of schools in the country it has no security cameras and no special security locks." He questioned whether television monitors were necessary or appropriate in many schools.

Superintendent Mike Dean, crime prevention officer for Strathclyde Police, listed some of the security problems in schools. These varied from unauthorised access, "highlighted at the extreme end by Dunblane", to violence to staff and pupils, theft, damage, drug taking and indecency in school grounds.

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