Posted: Friday, 7th October 2011
THOUSANDS of students can sleep safer at night thanks to the growing influence of the University’s Security Team.
Under the able guidance of Head of Security Mark Shutt, the University has unveiled an unprecedented list of measures on personal safety, halls and home security, cycle and property protection and more.
A proactive student communications plan for 2011/12 has been produced with Marketing & Communications and Student Services, and months of work have gone into the Tactical Action Partnership (TAP) – the first coordinated approach to safety involving Greater Manchester Police, Manchester City Council, RNCM, the hospitals, the University of Manchester and the student unions.
High visibility campaigns such Decisions Decisions, advertised all along Oxford Road, are rapidly raising awareness of crime and its prevention.
“For the first time, we have a coherent and comprehensive strategy,” says Mark. “This not only covers Freshers’ Week and the early months of term, but runs continuously throughout the year.”
Mark now sits on the TAP with Yvonne Harris and MMUSU President Tunde Adekoya, while a sub-group with responsibility for safety campaigns has been set up with Catherine Seddon as Chair. Mark is also proactive with Cheshire Constabulary on actions at Crewe.
“A huge amount of work is going into this area, because safety is one thing we cannot afford not to get right,” says Mark. “We are covering all bases - talks, leaflets, cycle marking, panic alarms, and the more staff know about it the better.”
One initiative has seen halls students invited for the first time to attend safety and security briefings. 3,000 have attended so far, and Mark and colleague Ian Hamblett plan to tour halls to check the message is getting though.
“We’re going to be checking for doors open, windows ajar, everything, and we might leave some form of calling card, so students know they’ve been visited!”
Talking to students
Working with the Student Union, the team, which now sits in LRIS, has conducted its own market research into how and what to communicate to students.
“There’s a balance to strike; we don’t want to scare students but we need them to take issues seriously. We do as much work as we can face-to-face but we also encourage use of the new Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/mcrstudentsafer to which all the TAP agencies contribute. That’s a valuable resource.
“We’ve made a good start this year, but there is a lot more work to be done,” concludes Mark.
A first police surgery of the year with PC Scott Schofield takes place on October 17 at All Saints.
The Security Team is based at Cambridge Hall South and contactable on x1334 or 2222 (emergencies).