‘Very disturbing’ figures show large rise in crime at schools

The rest of the school is unaffected

Crimes recorded at primary and secondary schools in North Yorkshire have rocketed during the past five years.

Police figures reveal that the number of offences where a pupil has been in possession of a weapon, incidents of violence against a person and of sexual offences, have all risen since 2015.

A City of York Councillor says the figures are “very disturbing” and a spokesperson for an education union says there are concerns over whether school staff are sufficiently protected from the violent behaviour of some parents.

In 2015, North Yorkshire Police recorded 130 incidents of pupils possessing a weapon, sexual offences and violent offences in schools.

Last year the total rose to 401 reports, according to a Freedom of Information Request.

Violence cases triple

Cllr Bob Webb, Labour’s education spokesman, said: “These figures are clearly very disturbing, more than doubling and in fact tripling in four years in the case of violence against the person.”

He added:

  • It’s difficult to pinpoint what is driving this increase, but the increases are not hugely different to North Yorkshire Police’s own recorded crime figures over a similar period.

    Between September 2015 and September 2019 sexual offences went up from just over 1,100 to 2000, and violence against the person almost doubled from 8,200 and 16,000.

    What this could be showing is that children and young people are heavily influenced by what they see and hear around them, both on and offline.

    But these are very serious issues that require significant partnership working between the council and the police to better understand and to tackle.

A spokesman for the education union the NEU said there are also concerns that head teachers and senior staff are not sufficiently protected from vexatious allegations, and from the violent behaviour of some parents.

The crime stats

There were eight reports of pupils in possession of a weapon reported to North Yorkshire Police in 2015 – last year that had risen to 18.

Sexual offences recorded at schools rose from 25 in 2015 to 68 last year.

And reports of violence against a person rose from 97 in 2015 – to 315 in 2019.

Keeping youngsters safe

Photograph: North Yorkshire Police

A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson, said: “North Yorkshire Police are committed to keeping young people safe.

“We have a dedicated team of school liaison officers who regularly engage with pupils in schools across North Yorkshire.

“Officers regularly provide input into schools around a number of crime prevention and safety issues, recognising the need for early education and intervention.”

They added that a team of officers works with other organisations to provide skills and workshops for youngsters.

They said: “In addition, a team of officers work with local partners to deliver Crucial Crew to more the 12,000 year six pupils every year. Crucial Crew provides fun, interactive workshop sessions about vital, lifesaving skills such as road safety, internet safety, water safety, how to make an emergency call, and much, much more.”