School Watch starts with holidays

WHILE students celebrate a two-week break as the bell sounds on Friday afternoon, residents are being urged to look, listen and report any suspicious behaviour over the holidays.

The community is encouraged to report any suspicious behaviour to police or the School Watch hotline to ensure schools are protected from acts of vandalism.

The School Watch hotline is available 24 hours for people to call on 131 788.

Infrastructure Services acting assistant director general Vince White urged people to keep the number handy to help create a safer school community.

"Community vigilance remains the best deterrent we have in the fight to keep our schools safe and secure," he said.

"Through School Watch, local residents have proved to be very effective in preventing vandalism and other damage to schools.

"The School Watch hotline has received around 60 calls on average per month so far this year."

School Watch, in operation since 1995, is a partnership between Education Queensland, the Queensland Police Service and the State Government Protective Security Service, which has successfully reduced vandalism, theft and arson in schools.

In 2011-2012 the State Government has allocated $4.97 million to the School Security Program to help reduce security-related incidents in schools.

The motto of School Watch is look, listen and report, which is designed to ensure that suspicious activities are reported to the appropriate authorities so members of the community are not placed at risk by intercepting an incident in progress.

On top of School Watch, security measures at Queensland state schools can include the completion of a security checklist by school staff, electronic intruder detection devices and 24-hour surveillance by police, State Government and private security officers.

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