‘Coventry Crew’ keeping students safe in unique police project ‘Coventry Crew’ keeping students safe in unique police project
Police in Coventry have teamed up with seasoned students on a unique project designed to keep campus ‘freshers’ safe when enjoying the city’s nightlife.
The ‘Drinkaware Crew’ will mingle in popular venues JJ’s and Square One, plus attend Students Union events during Freshers Week, to promote a positive atmosphere and look-out for students who are vulnerable through excess alcohol.
The group of 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates have been trained by charity Drinkaware to spot students needing support and to offer advice, guidance and help − from dealing with lost phones to providing emotional support.
PCSO Daniel Ball has set up the project with funding from the city’s Business Improvement District (BID).
He said: “Freshers Week will see thousands of students arrive in Coventry for the first time and many will want to enjoy the nightlife.
“The crew is easily identifiable in Here to Help T-shirts and will look out for vulnerable students − ones who are very drunk and separated from friends − and getting them first aid or making sure they get home safely.
“And they’ll carry an essential kit bag containing water, tissues… and sick bags!
“They act as peer-to-peer support and as a link between bar staff and security, hopefully intervening before people become too drunk or vulnerable and potentially causing issues for staff at the venues."
The scheme − believed to be the only one of its kind in the West Midlands − launches during Freshers Week but Crew members will be familiar faces at student nights throughout the university year.
Favourite student party venues JJ’s, Square One and the Student Union itself are all backing the project.
Trish Willetts, manager of Coventry Business Improvement District (BID), said: “This is a fantastic way to make sure that students across Coventry are looked after.
“This is not about spoiling anyone’s fun, it is about making sure students can have a good night, but have someone who is looking out for them as well.
“The whole of the Coventry BID team is thrilled to be supporting a project that sees students joining forces with police."
And Elaine Hindal, Drinkaware Chief Executive, said: “Drinkaware has been working closely with our partners in Coventry to bring Drinkaware Crew to the city.
“Drinkaware is committed to finding new and innovative ways of reducing the harm caused by alcohol and of helping to keep people safe on a night out, and we are delighted that Coventry Students’ Union, Square One and JJ’s are going to be running Drinkaware Crew.
“Building on its success in other parts of the UK, Drinkaware Crew in Coventry will carry out a vital role in supporting vulnerable people whilst minimising the impact that drunken behaviour can have on the local night-time economy."
The scheme forms part of West Midlands Police’s Safer Students campaign which delivers important messages aimed at keeping students and their property safe.
The force is urging students to remember a short set of key messages:
• Going out of the house for a lecture or heading out to a club? Make sure windows are closed and all doors are locked.
• Always check your doors are locked and windows closed before going to bed − don’t assume your housemate has done this…check!
• On a night out, make sure you stay in a group and go home in a group.
• If you use a bike to get round − make sure you keep it secure with a D lock.
Advice can be found on the Safer Students website and Twitter pages, with visible support to students offered by the dedicated WMP University Officers that work with students on campus.
For student specific safety advice visit: www.saferstudents.co.uk