Street Support Officers welcome students to Preston
21 September 2023
Preston City Council's Street Safety Officers (SSOs) are looking forward to welcoming and supporting the influx of new students and visitors to the city over the next few months in the run up to Christmas.
The team of SSOs, established a year ago following Home Office funding, provide a reassuring visible presence and are ready to help anyone who feels anxious, whether that be with directions back to their accommodation, support with taxi stewarding or first aid. In more serious cases, they can liaise quickly with the Police or emergency services and step in to tackle anti-social, intimidating or criminal behaviour. The friendly team are out in the city centre between 10pm and 4am on Saturday night. Together with colleagues at the Council, they also keep an eye on city-centre buildings for any suspicious activity.
Councillor Freddie Bailey, Cabinet member for environment and community safety, said:
"The SSOs in their high visibility uniform are a reassuring presence, especially in Freshers' weeks, when young people are finding their feet and are perhaps away from home for the first time. Along with the investment we continue to make in more CCTV cameras, we are pleased with the steps we are taking to make our streets as safe as possible and reduce criminal activity and anti-social behaviour."
Councillor Bailey had an additional message for any new students:
"As our new cohort of UCLan students, we want you to have a great time, enjoying all that Preston has to offer, but would ask that you help us by behaving responsibly. Please make a note of an emergency contact number on a card to carry with you (as well as your mobile phone), stay with friends and look out for one another and plan how you are going to get home in advance. Whilst you are out, don't drink from glasses or open containers which have been left unattended.
"Finally, if you have any concerns at all, please get in touch with one of our officers. They can be found on the street or door staff can send them a radio message to come and meet you."
Preston City Council won a bid of £146,568 in the Government's Safer Streets Fund aimed at tackling neighbourhood crime, anti-social behaviour, Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and ensuring safety inside and outside licensed premises. The scheme runs until September 2023.
The main aims of the Safer Streets Fund are to:
- reduce neighbourhood crime: domestic burglary, robbery, theft from person, vehicle crime
- reduce anti-social behaviour
- reduce VAWG in public spaces (including the night-time economy)
- increase feelings of safety from VAWG and ASB in public places
- a combination of the above