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It’s the month for Freshers’ Weeks across the UK as universities begin a new academic year – the first in-person one since 2019. Universities should make preparations to keep students safe, says Mark Morgan, a former Merseyside Police superintendent, who is now running a UK police-led, national safety scheme for venues, such as bars, pubs and clubs.
That’s called Licensing Security and Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI), which was developed at the request of the Home Office by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI), the police-owned body that does work to deter and reduce crime, such as the Secured by Design (SbD) scheme.
Mark said that Freshers’ Week should mark the start of an exciting time for young students as they make new friends, have fun, start spending their loans, avoid having to explain to parents about being late home – and of course, looking forward, to starting their studies. However, for precisely those reasons it can also be a time of concern because the care-free atmosphere may be focused around alcohol and many of the students are away from home and responsible for their own welfare for the first time.
He said: “The coming weeks will bring challenges to the towns and cities who host our further and higher education establishments with the influx of new students and ‘Freshers’ Weeks’. Because of the impact of COVID, we are likely to see two new year groups coming together for the first time and some students experiencing bars and clubs for the first time too.
“Student vulnerability is a major concern. In addition, many venues will be employing new students as staff, so venue operators should be reviewing their practices around sensible drinking and efforts to reduce vulnerability. It is important venues strike the right balance between ensuring students have the fantastic experience they crave whilst ensuring they are safe and free from harm.”
About Licensing SAVI
Available as an online self-assessment, it brings together information for licensees in England and Wales to promote the four Licensing Act 2003 objectives: Prevention of Public Nuisance, Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Protection of Children from Harm, and Public Safety. Visit https://licensingsavi.com/.
Licensing SAVI is independent from the alcohol drinks industry and is backed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Project Servator, a police-led patrol method to deter terrorist attacks at crowded places.