Bolton businesses support University of Bolton student safety scheme
A new safety scheme for students in Bolton town centre has been given the backing of 20 businesses.
Student Safety Zones have been launched to tie-in with students at The University of Bolton returning to their studies.
Inspector Andy Sidebotham, for Bolton Central neighbourhood policing team (NPT), suggested the zones were introduced in the town after seeing how successful they were in Manchester.
Businesses displaying the scheme’s logo will assist students who are vulnerable or do not feel safe. Students can wait for the problem to pass, call a taxi to take them home or get help from the business or the police.
It is mainly aimed at university students but also the 40,000 students studying across Bolton in sixth forms and colleges.
Insp Sidebotham said: “We are really formalising what the businesses have been doing already in Bolton. We have specifically chosen these 20 businesses as they are some of the most student friendly places.
“This project was set up two years ago in Manchester and the research has been really positive. For students who are new to the area, it’s a symbol for them that it’s somewhere where they can feel safe and they might feel more comfortable going into the premises if it has the symbol displayed.”
He said when he worked in Manchester the scheme was generally used for low-level incidents but had been used by people who were victims of crime or believed they were being followed.
PC Rick Charlesworth, who has helped implement the scheme, said: “It’s very much a common-sense approach to helping somebody. If a student is new to the area and is panicking they know they can look for the logo and go and get help.”
The police have joined forces with the university, the university’s student services and local businesses.
Adam Stopford, customer service manager at Sainsbury’s, said: “We got involved because we are close to the town centre and are a large company. It’s important for us to establish a link in Bolton town centre and the university. We get quite a lot of students in the store. It’s important that we are there for them.”
Sara Burgess, head of Library and student services at the University of Bolton, said: “Student Safe Zone has been running in Manchester with considerable success. We’re happy to see the scheme extended to Bolton and our students.”
l People can find out how near they are to Student Safe Zones by downloading the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) app on a smart phone.
The app has a Student Safe Zone section which uses GPS to show where you are in relation to the participating businesses.
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