GOLD COASTERS are being asked to keep a close eye on their local schools during the Christmas holidays and to report suspicious activity to the School Watch hotline.
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said that schools were centres of the community and it was vital to protect them from vandalism and theft.
“Our schools have never been in better condition and we’re encouraging community groups to make more use of the facilities on their doorsteps,” he said.
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“But vandalism and break-ins can be heartbreaking for students and staff and others who use school buildings.
“That’s why it’s vital that our schools are kept safe this Christmas – and the community can help.
“I appeal to anyone who sees anything suspicious around schools over the holidays not to intervene but to call School Watch immediately on 13 17 88.”
Mr Langbroek said police or the State Government Protective Security Service would deal with matters of vandalism, theft and arson in and around schools.
“More than 700 calls were made to the School Watch number last year and so far around 300 calls have been made this year,” he said.
“These calls have had a significant impact on the needless waste of money and resources that occurs when school property is damaged.”
Mr Langbroek said calls from the public this month had already alerted authorities to a fire at a north Brisbane school and a potential break-in at a south Brisbane school.
He said the Newman LNP Government had allocated $5.1 million in 2014 for the management of school security, including alarm system monitoring and mobile patrols.
“An additional $1.5 million was allocated to install security fencing at a number of high risk schools,” Mr Langbroek said.
“Members of the community can add to these measures by keeping the School Watch number handy, staying alert and phoning 13 17 88 immediately if they have any concerns.”