Improved security measures at a vandal-hit Fife school should be discussed as a matter of urgency, according to local parents. Pitcoudie Primary School in Glenrothes has been targeted by vandals and thieves in the past month, with police currently probing the theft of nine laptop computers with an estimated value of more than 8,000. The break-in by two hooded men on November 20 came just days after the school s community garden was targeted by local youths.
Planters and two benches including a memorial to pupil Logan Carrie, who was killed crossing the A92 last year, were destroyed. Fed up mums and dads have now had enough of seeing their youngsters come home heartbroken and have demanded firm action. Councillor Fiona Grant said: Members of the public tell me that several suggestions for improved security were vetoed on human rights grounds or expense.
I will be pressing Fife Council to prioritise the rights of innocent school children not to see their garden space or memorial area vandalised over the rights of a member of the public who chooses to walk through school grounds.
As for expense, repairing damage and replacing items costs anyway, improved security should be considered spend to save.
I look forward to working with the school community, police and council staff to better protect the school.
Local MSP Jenny Gilruth said she was saddened and appalled to hear what had happened.
I have made contact with the school itself to express my sympathies and I have also been liaising with Police Scotland, she said.
I would urge anyone in my constituency who has any information to come forward and inform the police immediately so that the culprits can be caught. Local woman Alison McIntyre, 46, whose youngest son Ronnie, 7, is in primary 3 at Pitcoudie said: I think there needs to be some sort of meeting to sort out the security.
There is CCTV there but they are saying it s rubbish and it s really grainy, so why can t they upgrade it ? What s the point in having it then?
I ve heard about the human rights argument but if these people are breaking into a primary school they need to be held responsible for their actions and feel ashamed.
Neil Finnie, Fife Council s senior compliance officer, said: Fife Council takes the issue of vandalism in our schools extremely seriously, as it can cause real disruption in our school communities.
We are already looking at what next steps to take in response to the recent vandalism at Pitcoudie, including measures to prevent future incidents wherever possible.
Fife Council continues to work with the school community, parents and police to better protect the school and we are examining appropriate crime prevention tactics.
Vandalism to any of our schools is completely unacceptable and it is very disappointing for pupils and the local community.
We urge anyone who sees any untoward activity to contact Police Scotland.
When shots are fired the instinct for the majority of us without years of military or police training is to panic, writes Bob Banerjee, pictured, Senior Director, Global Training and Knowledge at Qognify. The decision to run or hide can be the difference between life and death. In our society these situations are thankfully rare, but at this time we are all of course highly sensitive to the fact that they do happen.
I recently spent some time with the ALiCE Training Institute, an organisation that was set up in the US to help improve the chance of survival in active shooter situations, by providing proactive advice and training to schools, corporations and government organisations. Recently, there has been a shift in the recommendations ALiCE makes when faced with this rare, but potential situation. Whereas hiding was once advocated as an effective survival strategy, it is now recommended that a person in this horrifying situation run away or evacuate.
This shift is the result of a disturbing trend that shooters have become much more efficient in reaching their goal of maximising casualties. The Sandy Hook and Columbine tragedies in the US spanned six minutes. Historically, a shooter would ve spent 90 minutes to get a similar causality count. In addition, most victims of an active shooting are shot at point blank range, while hiding under a desk or crouching in a corner by a low-skilled shooter. Knowing this makes running away a more effective survival strategy. Throughout the day it struck me how the advice the advice ALiCE provides to individuals (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) could also have huge value in helping security professionals charged with operating systems that are in place to help detect and manage such an incident, to plan for such an eventuality. Here are some examples of how that might work:
Nothing makes people aware about unfolding situations as efficiently as situation management technology. By continuously monitoring sensors such as gun-shot detection and panic alarms, once triggered, it automatically notifies all relevant stakeholders, including first responders.
While lockdowns are no longer considered the default response, in some situations they are necessary. In the event that one is necessary, a situation management solution that is integrated with access control systems would enable an automatic and instantaneous lockdown.
Keeping responders updated with real-time information is critical. Situation management solutions can provide a gunman s location and description, while mass notification and inter-agency messaging capabilities effectively disseminate these important details. Additionally, video surveillance and analytics can be key in providing real-time information.
In most cases, it is the gunman that ends the incident, which is accelerated when he believes the police are on to him. So instead of waiting for the police to arrive and speak to him over the PA, an automated message could be played giving the same impression, ending the incident faster and reducing his accuracy via the distraction.
Although it is the last letter in ALiCE, it is the primary strategy and based on the premise that you can t be killed if you are not there. With location-addressable PA systems, specific guidance can be given. This would be governed by embedded SOPs in the situation management platform and common sense from its operator.