Is Knife Crime in UK Schools on the Rise? Safeguarding Public Sector Schools With Private Security

Every Child has the right to feel safe at school- it’s a place to learn, socialise with friends and prepare for the future.

But increasing violence in public sector education is threatening this right to safety, putting pupils at risk, and creating an atmosphere of fear in educational spaces across the country. A closer look at the statistics presents a worrying picture.

In March 2019, knife crime in the UK reached a decade high; and tragically many victims where under 18. In 2019, 45,632 young people aged 10-17 were sentenced for carrying a knife or offensive weapon in England and Wales, with over 1000 of these weapons found on school property. Everything from machetes, hunting knives, samurai swords and even a modified highlighter pen were seized by police on school grounds, with the youngest offender just 4 years old.

Since 2015, assaults taking place in public sector schools have increased by 72%, with physical violence not only being committed against fellow pupils but also teachers. Recent data suggests that nearly one in four teachers have been physically attacked by pupils, with as many as two thirds of teachers considering leaving the profession because of verbal abuse and threats of violence from students. A staggering 18% of teachers report being threatened with a weapon by pupils, with 3% claiming a weapon was brought into school in order to follow through on the threat.


Private Security in the Public Sector?

It’s clear that the situation in our schools is deteriorating rapidly and that greater measures need to be put in place to protect both pupils and staff from violence and abuse. The London Metropolitan police has already deployed 420 officers across the capital’s schools as part of their strategy to tackle knife crime amongst young people and are planning to increase the number of full-time officers in schools to 600 in the future.

Yet with the police already overstretched and underfunded, schools could turn to private security companies, such as Churchill Security, to step in and provide much needed security to protect students and teachers from violence, freeing up police time, so they can focus on tackling crime in the wider community.

Every school is required to have a security and safeguarding policy under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR). The Department of Education states that any security policy must “reflect the balance between maintaining an open and welcoming environment for learners, parents and the wider community and protecting them from harm”. Some people object to a police presence or private security in educational spaces on the basis that it could contradict this need for openness and a welcoming environment, creating an atmosphere of intimidation in schools.

At Churchill Security, we believe that ‘safe’ and ‘welcoming’ are not mutually exclusive. With properly trained, SIA-licensed security officers, you could equip your public sector school with sensitive, proportionate but effective school security, ensuring your pupils and staff are protected from rising knife crime and violence.


How Can Schools Benefit From Private Security?

Safeguarding Pupils and Staff

Given the statistics we’ve seen regarding the rise in violent crime in UK schools, safeguarding pupils and staff is of paramount importance to any educational establishment. Hiring a private security company to deploy highly trained officers in schools could significantly reduce both violent and petty crime by acting as a highly visual deterrent. A strong security presence has been proven to significantly deter crime, not only incidents of violence, but also theft and vandalism- which can be common occurrences in schools and colleges.  Having a dedicated security team on hand also means that teachers must no longer endanger themselves by trying to diffuse violent situations or handle aggressive pupils. Our expert security officers are trained to deal with all situations in an appropriate and sensitive manner, for the safest and best outcome of any confrontational situation.


Access Control

In order to combat increasing knife crime in the community and in schools, some establishments are now using ‘knife arches’ and wands to detect any concealed weapons. Before entering the school grounds, each student must pass through a metal detector, which will alert staff to the presence of any knives. Our experienced guards are fully trained in access control and can ensure that all pupils entering the school grounds have been through the proper checks and are not carrying a weapon, ensuring that no knives are brought into the school.  Our SIA-licensed security officers can also assist with stop and searches or bag searches, according to the school’s security policy.


Multi-skilled, SIA-licensed Officers

All our security officers hold a full SIA licence, the professional qualification for private security guards, which is regulated by the Security Industry Authority. This licence also includes a DBS check, so you can be sure that all our security guards are permitted to work with children and vulnerable adults. Our security officers are not only trained in professional security services but are also qualified in health and safety and basic first aid, so you have the peace of mind that the safety of your pupils and teachers is in expert hands. Churchill Security can also provide additional help with risk assessments and property reviews, providing helpful advice on how to better safeguard your people and premises from violent crime, theft, and vandalism.



At Churchill Security, we pair the latest technology with excellent security services. CCTV is a simple yet efficient tool that can act as a highly effective visual deterrent. We can equip your school with a comprehensive CCTV system, which not only deters criminal activity, but also provides valuable evidence for police and the courts, should a serious incident occur. At Churchill Security, we can also provide a range of mobile and outdoor CCTV services, which can help monitor breaktimes and after school time, which are statistically high-risk times for violent bullying and knife crime. Indeed, according to Ofsted’s Knife Crime report 2019, the most dangerous time for violent crime is shortly after school, between 4pm and 6pm. Having outdoor CCTV can help keep pupils safe as they walk to and from school or whilst waiting for buses or parents. CCTV is most effective when paired with an on-site security presence and can work in tandem with traditional security guarding and access control, acting as a strong visual deterrent or valuable record should an incident occur.


Rapid Response

If an incident should occur on school grounds, our professionally trained security officers will know how to tackle the situation and can act as a rapid response, acting on behalf of the police until they can arrive on the scene. All our guards are trained to tackle violent and verbal abuse in an appropriate and effective manner, so teachers and support staff do not have to put themselves in harm’s way to diffuse the situation. They are also trained to perform interviews, take statements, and liaise with the police after an incident has occurred, so law enforcement and schools can collect evidence that can be used in court proceedings or school exclusion reviews.


Are you an educational professional looking to protect your students and staff from rising violence in schools? Visit our website for more information on our Education Security, or contact us directly on 08082509519 or email

Churchill Support Services is a leading cross-industry security company supplying professional and comprehensive security solutions to organisations seeking expert Security Guards, CCTV & Event Security, Key Holding & Alarm Response, Mobile Patrols and Thermal Imaging & People Flow.

Emily Macaulay

Head of Business Development

Emily is responsible for business growth and account development via new sales. She leads the Business Development teams through strategic goals and objectives in line with business targets and strategy. Emily is a friendly, approachable and a respected senior manager at Churchill who always strives to deliver service excellence.