Representatives from the charity Crimestoppers, the University of Northampton and the wider education sector gathered at the House of Lords this week to launch a new programme aimed at keeping university students free from crime.
SaferU, a service that will be rolled out into three universities initially – The University of Northampton, Anglia Ruskin and The University of Plymouth – aims to give crime prevention advice to students to make their stay in higher education a safe one, while also recruiting willing volunteers to help keep their fellow students safe on campus.
The House of Lords event saw speakers include Crimestoppers Founder and Chair, Lord Ashcroft, and Martin Lawrence, Universities Ambassador for Crimestoppers, who spoke about the hopes and aspirations for the new service.
The aim, as well as providing vital crime prevention advice and materials to students at the three respective universities, is to acquire a network of young volunteers to work with Crimestoppers regional committees in tackling issues that exist in their town, and on their campus.
This launch follows on from successful pilot activity carried out by students at the University of Northampton that saw them run a campaign called ‘Stick it, Stole it,’ in Febraury 2013.
The campaign aimed to raise awareness of the theft of small personal items, such as laptops and mobiles left unattended on campus.
With The Complete University Guide releasing its latest figures on crime rates affecting universities earlier this month, there is no better time for this new programme to be launched.
Lord Ashcroft told the assembled guests: “SaferU is an initiative focused on the protection of students through engagement and awareness about personal safety and crime. It engages young people on the subject of crime and encourages them to be part of the solution by developing campaigns about issues that matter to them.
“Above all, it really empowers students to lead, rather than be led, and encourages a community spirit, and that’s what makes the difference.
Crimestoppers Universities Ambassador Martin Lawrence added: “I believe wholeheartedly that an initiative like SaferU not only ensures our students are safe, but also provides important foundations for their professional lives including wider civic awareness and a shared interest in their communities.
“I look forward to supporting the programme and the representatives of the universities that will become partners over the coming years.”
Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton, said: “The University of Northampton is proud to be leading SaferU on behalf of the sector and keen to share our positive experience with Crimestoppers more widely.”
Doug Rae, Dean of the University of Northampton’s School of Social Sciences, added: “The SaferU project is the exciting culmination of some innovative students’ campaigns run across our two campuses over the last three years.
“Working in true partnership with Crimestoppers and enjoying the excellent support of their Universities Ambassador, Martin Lawrence, our students have demonstrated hugely positive and successful outcomes. We look forward to exporting our good practice to our peers in other universities.”
Universities interested in joining the SaferU programme can contact Sue Langley at Crimestoppers on firstname.lastname@example.org.