Students are being given a safe and warm welcome to Nottingham this Freshers’ Week with some additional high-visibility help for anyone in need.
A Safe Space van will be deployed to Canning Circus at the top of Derby Road in the city centre throughout the week to give added peace of mind as thousands of young adults come to study at the city’s two universities and enjoy Nottingham’s famous nightlife.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry recently joined Chief Inspector Chris Pearson and members of Nottingham City Council’s Community Protection Team on a night out seeing the Safe Space van in action.
These interactions have led to 73 referrals to Nottinghamshire Police and other partner agencies based upon experiences reported to the Community Protection Officers who staff the van whilst it is deployed.
The Safe Space van has been made possible after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire secured £3 million of Home Office funding for Safer Streets projects that help reduce neighbourhood crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as violence against women and girls.
A £750,000 share of this money has been spent in Nottingham, which has allowed for a range of public safety projects to be delivered, from new CCTV cameras to home security upgrades, in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council.
Commissioner Henry recently spent an evening out with the Safe Space van to welcome new and returning students back to Nottingham.
“We want to make sure that when students are on a night out in Nottingham, that they feel really safe,” said Commissioner Henry.
“Reducing violence against women and girls is a top priority for us, and our Safe Space van provides a welcoming and neutral space for anyone in need to speak to someone and report a crime if necessary.
“So please come and enjoy our fantastic city and be reassured that if you need any help we have our officers patrolling throughout the city and we have our Safe Space van here for you.”
As students return to University over the next few weeks Nottinghamshire Police are encouraging students to be aware of the Safe Space van, and approach if they’re in need.
The trained Community Protection Officers will enquire if a crime, sexual or otherwise has been committed, and if so will invite the person reporting the offence to take a seat in the van to provide further details which can then be passed on to Nottinghamshire Police or any other relevant partner agencies.
Community Protection Officer Jacob Parker, one of the officers deployed with the Safe Space van, said: “The van is here providing a safe space for anybody that wants to disclose any information regarding sexual offences or if they’ve been a victim of violence.
“Even if you’re just having a rough night, we’d encourage you to come and chat with us.”
“With the new term just beginning and the start of freshers week, the van will be out from around 8pm to around 12am depending on footfall, Monday to Sunday.”
The Safer Streets programme is being delivered as part of an ongoing partnership between the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Nottinghamshire Police, and Nottingham City Council, among other local authorities.
“The first thing I would say is that we want students here in Nottingham to enjoy themselves, that’s really important and I know it’s part of the university experience.
What I would always say in terms of safety is to always be with people you know where possible, try to avoid walking out of the city late at night on your own, and stick to the main arterial routes which are well lit and well covered with CCTV,” said Chief Inspector Chris Pearson.
“There will be officers deployed from the neighbourhood policing teams and from our partners at Nottingham City Council in the city centre and also on main routes within the city. So my ask if that if anybody feels unsafe or would like to report anything to the police please approach our officers who will be carrying out high-visibility patrols.”
The Safe Space van will be deployed on Canning Circus outside of The Sir John Borlase Warren pub at the top of Derby Road, from 8pm until 12am Monday to Friday for the duration of Nottingham Trent Universities Freshers Week as well as the University of Nottingham’s Freshers Week which concludes on Sunday 1 October.
Councillor Sajid Mohammed, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion at Nottingham City Council, said: “We welcome all students to our city and we hope they will have a fantastic time while here – making new friends, experiencing Nottingham’s famous culture and nightlife and creating memories from this exciting period of their lives.
“We all have a responsibility to keep them safe and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to work with the police and the PCC’s office to provide this clearly-marked vehicle, which young people know they can approach on a night out if they need help or assistance.”
If you need to report a crime you can call Nottinghamshire Police on 999.