Vice President (Activities) Student Safety Night Walk

Myself, Russ Lewis (Head of Student Engagement) and Jack McGuiness (Student Insight Placement) met with Derby City Council and took part in a tour around Derby to see what the Council has in place to keep students safe.

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On the evening of Saturday 11th December, myself, Russ Lewis (Head of Student Engagement) and Jack McGuiness (Student Insight Placement) met with Derby City Council and took part in a tour around Derby to see what the Council has in place to keep the people of Derby safe, of course our main concern was how they protect Students. This was the first step in working with the Council to introduce a charter in 2022 that intends to award all licensed premises a level on the charter based on safety compliance.

We spent the majority of the evening walking around the City Centre with the Street Pastors following the route they usually take, which began at the Market Place and proceeded onto Iron Gate, St Marys Gate, Bold Lane, Sadler Gate, Friar Gate, the Wardwick, Albert Street, Cheapside and the Corn Market. The Street Pastors checked in with door staff at each venue we came across to let them know they were working and also to check if they needed any assistance. On route, they also collected glass bottles and put them in the bin, they do this to not only clean up the streets but also because they could be used as weapons. In 2021 alone they have disposed of over 3000 glass bottles or pint glasses.

A key part of the night was focusing on how each bar displayed the measures they have in place to keep students safe, for me I looked closely at our partnered venues in the Stonegate chain but also kept an eye open for other venues that I’m aware students use regularly, such as MooMoos and Mosh. I personally saw Popworld using the metal detector wands and thoroughly searching people which I was pleased with, this was also happening at several other venues.

On top of having a tour around the venues, we also looked at the CCTV that overlooks the City Centre. The focus of the operators on Saturday night was on the cameras covering the bars and clubs as well as pedestrian walking routes into the city. The cameras can track incidents when they occur and can be used in real time to report to the police and on-the-ground staff where necessary. The cameras go all the way out to the majority of student halls which, for me, was excellent to see. However, I did provide some suggestions of where they should place new ones, should funding allow, based on conversations I have had with students, which they took on board and were happy to hear the feedback. Some of the locations suggested included Cowley Street, Drewry Lane, Slack Lane and Mackworth road, among a few others.

The next steps for us as a University and a Union are to work with the Council and each other to look at getting the CCTV monitored on a student night, particularly a Wednesday, as currently, although they record footage 24/7, they are only monitored at certain times. We are also going to invite the relevant members of the Council into a University meeting to continue the discussion on how we can protect the students of the city, as well as presenting the plans for the Charter for 2022.

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