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smart about security
Young crime busters have been helping protect their school from
Pupils at Delce Junior School in The Tideway, Rochester have
marked up their computers and valuable ICT equipment with an
innovative security coded liquid paint as a deterrent to
The paint, called Smart Water, has been given to every school in
Medway as part of a jointly-funded venture between Medway Council
and Kent Police in Medway to combat the theft of school equipment
and lead roofing.
The colourless solution contains a reference code unique to each
school or individual. Although the solution dries invisibly when
applied to items such as ICT equipment and overhead projectors, it
reveals details of the item’s owner under ultraviolet light, making
it easier for the police to trace items back to their owners.
The dye also leaves a mark on criminals who have come into
contact with items marked with Smart Water.
In 2007/08, the value of IT equipment stolen from Medway schools
was more than £25,000, while the associated damage as a result of
burglary or theft cost £46,000.
Delce Junior School Headteacher, Sue Burt, welcomed the
campaign: “Delce Junior School is pleased to be working with Medway
Council and Kent Police.
"Although the school doesn't traditionally have a problem with
break-ins, there are many schools that do, and thefts of valuable
equipment take time, money and energy away from our core purpose of
teaching and learning.
"Involving the children in the launch has helped them see that
they can be instrumental in making their community a better place
Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr
Les Wicks is confident the Smart Water technology will deter
criminals from targeting schools: “This is an exciting venture
which we hope will reduce the number of schools that become victims
"Thieves who steal from our schools have a detrimental effect on
our children’s education by taking important objects needed to
develop their learning.
"I am confident this new equipment will help stamp out thefts
from schools once and for all.”
Medway Council’s Director of Children and Adults, Rose
Collinson, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with
Kent Police in Medway to make sure our children and young people
can learn and achieve safely in schools and settings that have not
been burgled or vandalised.”
Inspector Dave Coleman, who has co-ordinated the initiative,
said: ”There has been a significant increase in the value of scrap
metal and in turn this has resulted in thefts of metals increasing.
A common target for thieves is lead flashing, copper piping,
plumbing material and cabling.
"In Medway we know that roof flashing is commonly stolen. Both
the police and the council want to make life as hard as possible
for a thief and have worked together to roll out the use of Smart
Water in every school in time for the summer holiday.
"Our message is simple, if you break into a school in Medway,
there is a good chance we can forensically link you to the scene of
the crime thanks to the introduction of Smart Water. I am confident
that this campaign will not only help us charge those who do not
listen to our warnings but also deter potential burglars.”
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