Police advice on keeping safe this Freshers’ Week

Starting university comes with a huge range of emotions, so while students across Sussex focus on enjoying Freshers’ Week, Sussex Police and its partners will be working tirelessly to keep them safe.

Sussex is a safe place to enjoy a night out thanks to the huge range of safety measures in place in the towns and cities across the county.

You will see our stalls, banners and guidance at Freshers’ fairs and events in universities across Sussex.

To help keep you safe on nights out, officers will be carrying out targeted, visible patrols around licensed premises such as restaurants, bars and clubs to help keep people safe.

Our licensing teams also work with venues to raise awareness around vulnerability and regularly hold briefings with security staff prior to opening.

Unannounced licensing checks throughout the night provide an additional level of support and if you see our officers out and about, please do speak to them – or licensed security staff – about any concerns or suspicious behaviour.

Licensed venues have also been proactive with their security efforts, with increased searches at the door, extra training for staff, lids for cups, testing strips, on-site medics, safe spaces for people in distress and much more.

If you find yourself alone, in distress or feel vulnerable, you can use the Safe Space Sussex app.

The app shows designated Safe Spaces near you where you can go for assistance and have a safe space to contact someone you trust or call the emergency services.

It also provides the option for you to share your current location with a named contact.

The app, launched by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), is available for free download from the Apple App and Google Play stores.

The PCC has also recently funded 250,000 anti-spiking Stop-Topps, which have been distributed to venues across Sussex to go onto drinking vessels to deter criminals from spiking drinks.

Venues are linked in with the police and other partners through Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (BCRP) across Sussex.

The BCRPs offer guidance and advice, hold briefings with security staff and police before opening times and provide dedicated radios shared between officers and door staff to allow rapid responses to any incidents.

In collaboration with Brighton and Hove’s BCRP and Pagoda Security, a team of Night Safety Marshals have recently been introduced into the city.

Funded by Sussex Police but employed as security staff by Pagoda, the team offer an additional visible presence, identify issues before they escalate and protect vulnerable people.

Linked in with the police via their mobile handsets, the marshals can escort people to a safe location, take them to a Sussex Police taxi marshal at a taxi rank, enlist the help of other emergency services or request assistance from police officers.

They work alongside Street Pastors who patrol the city centre helping vulnerable people and the Beach Patrol, which runs along Brighton seafront assisting people in need.

Two branded cars have also been deployed in Eastbourne from the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night Fund, to not only act as a deterrent but to offer a clear contact point for people who need them.

If you believe you have been a victim of spiking or any crime on a night out, report it to bar staff or a police officer as soon as possible. You can also report crimes online through the Sussex Police website, via 101 or by calling 999 in an emergency.

Superintendent Adele Tucknott, Sussex Police’s lead for violence against women and girls, said: “Everybody should be able to enjoy a night out and Sussex is a safe, welcoming environment for the huge range of freshers’ activities taking place over the next few weeks.

“Protecting the public is a team effort and the broad range of support services in place between ourselves and our partners in the community underlines our ongoing commitment to safeguarding vulnerable people, preventing crime and catching perpetrators.

“Freshers’ Week is a major event in many young peoples’ lives, with new friends and experiences, and I hope everybody taking part has a fabulous time.

“Look out for each other, help us to keep you safe and let’s make sure your Freshers’ Week is memorable for all the right reasons.”

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Whether you’ve lived in Sussex your whole life or you’re new to our county, I want you to feel safe – both during the day and at night.

“Whilst we want people to enjoy their Freshers’ Week exploring what our great county has to offer, I’d like to encourage people to look out for each other when out and about, know their limits and have access to the safety tools and guidance that is available.

“Please speak to Sussex Police officers and security and venue staff if you notice something that doesn’t seem right. Police, pubs and club staff and our taxi marshals will work together to make your night out as enjoyable and safe as possible.”

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