BOLTON followed in the footsteps of Manchester last year and introduced student safety zones across town.
Students who are vulnerable or do not feel safe get assistance from one of about 20 businesses supporting the student safety zones.
Participating businesses display the scheme’s logo and will call a taxi for students, offer help, call police for them or simply let them stay there until the problem passes.
Blind Tiger in Nelson Square, The Capitol in Churchgate and Morrison’s in Trinity Street are among those in the scheme.
It is mainly aimed at university students but also the 40,000 students studying across Bolton in sixth forms and colleges.
First call for the evening was Nelson Square in the town centre where officers spoke with licensees early in the evening to ensure there had been no issues.
Next stop was Coe Street, Bolton, where a woman was found to be loitering allegedly for prostitution at about 8.15pm.
PC Charlesworth spoke to her and warned her to leave the area or be summonsed to court.
She told him she needed to pay her electricity bill and asked if she could go home after one client but agreed to leave the area.
He said some prostitutes’ boyfriends will often pimp them on the streets.
Over the past few years police have been working with Bolton Council and Urban Outreach, a rehabilitation charity, to clamp down on street prostitution through Operation Zero by prosecuting kerb crawlers and getting the women out of the cycle of drug addiction, with support.
As we drove to the university’s The Hollins Halls of Residence, Radcliffe Road, officers spotted a persistent beggar outside Bolton Railway Station.
The man was summonsed to court for begging. He told officers he did not care what happened to him but he wanted to feed his dog, who was sitting next to him on the street.
Officers patrolled around The Hollins Halls of Residence and Orlando Village Halls of Residence in Thynne Street advising students to get clued up about protecting themselves from criminals.
Special constables walked around both of the halls of residence, posting cut-outs of a man’s arm through open windows where people appeared to be out of their rooms.
The arms came with a warning that burglars will use a stick to grab what they can see through a letter box, and students were told that open doors and windows are an invitation to criminals.
Paper footprints were also posted under doors that were left unlocked, telling people they were lucky the footprint was left by police and not a burglar.
PC Charlesworth said: “Student halls did get targeted but that has drastically reduced due to working with students and the university’s students’ union. Around four years ago there was a large amount of student burglaries but they have significantly reduced. The university has invested in a massive amount of CCTV.”
The checks also involved further checks with licensees and driving around secluded areas of town such as The Parish Church in Churchgate to deter criminals and to look out for any crimes.
Information about Bolton’s student safe zones can be found via gmp.police.uk