Playing it safe

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If you missed the safety talk during fresher’s week, which you probably did considering the 9am start, this article will point you in the right direction in making your experience at university as safe possible.

When it comes to getting digits during freshers, PC Gary Wynne is a very important contact to have in your phone as he is the on-campus Police Officer for the university.  Rather than calling 999, the number that is highly recommended to keep on you is 01524 791239.  Contacting PC Wynne personally will ensure that your enquiries and problems are dealt with as fast as possible, due to his experienced knowledge of the University campus compared to the standard emergency services.

His presentation at the Safety talk during Fresher’s week was very useful but if you missed it, the biggest recommendation he provided students with was to get yourself a Citizen Card. A Citizen Card acts as a replacement for taking expensive ID out with you, such as your driving license or passport.  It proves that you are a student at the university as well as your date of birth.  Applying for one is easy and can be done online, just visit www.citizencard.com.

As well as your driving license or passport, it is recommended to avoid taking cash cards when going out.  By taking cash, you do not run the risk of losing personal information that can be used against you.

Another piece of personal information that can be used against you, if misplaced, is the plastic key ring that is attached on your campus accommodation keys.  It is recommended to remove this and leave it in a safe place inside your accommodation because otherwise your house, flat and room number will be exposed to anyone who finds it. At the end of the day, you should know where you live!

One vital tip for a night out, especially for women, is the traditional “safety in numbers”. So always remember never to make your way back home alone and always let your friends know where you are if you do get separated.

With the music turned up and the alcohol flowing it can sometimes be difficult to keep you’re guard up, but just remember never to leave your drink lying around. This could make you a prime target for drink spiking. Also keep your handbag with you at all times and try to avoid handbags without zips or clutches as these allow thieves easy access to all of your important items!

On route back to your flat make sure that you and your friends stay in well-lit areas, particularly along main roads, as staying seen means staying safe! If you’re getting a taxi also check that it is licensed by checking for the identity badge displaying the driver’s photograph and license number on the dashboard of the taxi.  To save yourself money, Stagecoach provide free buses back to the university from Sugarhouse and Elements after 1am.

Nowadays, the must have gadget for women is the personal safety alarm. These are available from Marks & Spencers for £19.50 and can be easily attached to key rings and handbags so that it remains close to hand. Or if student life is hitting your bank balance hard there are cheaper alternatives available at www.c-p-p.co.uk.

You can call Lancaster Nightline, a voluntary listening and information service on 01524 594444 (external phone), or 94444 ( internal campus phone). Or you can email nightline@lancaster.ac.uk for an E-listening service if you have any further queries on student safety.

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