The evolution of security… or rather, the evolution of insecurity. We look at how we can keep people and property safe, in a way that intelligently interprets needs and aspirations – but at the same time provides discreet, low profile security appropriate to the environment.
1. Creating a secure environment
Effective security measures in schools and colleges can bring many benefits. A reduction in theft and vandalism and a greater feeling of personal security can greatly improve morale and contribute to a far better learning environment.
This information is aimed at anybody with responsibility for security in educational environments. Whether starting an initial review, adding to existing measures, or looking for a solution to specific problems, we hope you will find this information useful. This information should be coordinated with the details identified in Secured by Design.
2. What you need to do: the security route map
Decide in advance what you want to achieve. Are there existing problems which need to be overcome, or potential risks to counter? These should be prioritised, so that you clearly understand what is essential. Any security system involves a trade-off in terms of convenience and cost. You will also need to balance deterrent measures (such as CCTV) with security systems which physically prevent intruders from gaining access.
Carry out a risk assessment. Threats to security include:
- parents, visitors, students or pupils getting into areas where they aren’t allowed without supervision;
- people breaking in while the premises are empty to carry out petty theft or vandalism;
- professional thieves after valuable equipment such as computers;
- violent intruders breaking in during the day.
Remember to balance security needs with the requirement for safety. A building may need to be evacuated in a hurry if there is a fire or bomb scare and security measures must not hinder this.
A review of your current security measures can identify weak spots. Talk to staff about the problems they encounter; put yourself into a criminal’s shoes and ask how you would break in. Your local police Crime Prevention Officer can also offer helpful advice, or approach a professional locksmith for a security survey.
Draw up an action plan to meet the threats. This obviously needs to be balanced against the available resources. Do not neglect possible hidden costs such as maintenance, replacements, or the need to provide specially trained staff to operate a system.
ASSA ABLOY’s security Centres can provide valuable assistance at this stage. Our consultants are fully trained in the advantages of the different products available, as well as being skilled in integrating these with other systems.
Consider how best to explain the new security measures to staff, pupils and parents. This is vital, because if users see a system as more of an inconvenience than a benefit they will exert considerable ingenuity to finding ways to evade or even disable that system, which defeats the whole point.
Once the system is in place, take time out occasionally to review its progress and to ensure it is successful in meeting your objectives.
3. Cost effective solutions
Value for money does not necessarily mean buying the products with the lowest purchase price. Official policy, since the publication of the Latham report, is to emphasise the whole life cost of a building – and up to 80% of that cost is accounted for by service and maintenance. In an environment such as a school where security products have to endure heavy use and abuse, it is false economy to fit items which will fall apart and need replacement after a few months. ASSA ABLOY’s range has an excellent reputation for being tough and durable enough to stand up to this treatment and to back this up we offer five and ten year guarantees on all our leading products.
4. What needs to be considered
Educational security needs to be considered from several viewpoints and secured by Design is a good starting point:
- protection of the grounds, which can include fencing, gates and security cameras.
- the building perimeter, usually the main line of defence. Ideally there should be a single entrance, so that all visitor access can be monitored and controlled. However, safety requirements may call for many exits to the building to allow rapid evacuation.