Student Safety Guide - Police Scotland

Student Safety Guide - Police Scotland

1 TO Starting university or college can mean some significant life changes - making new friends, studying in a new town, going out to new places an...

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Starting university or college can mean some significant life changes - making new friends, studying in a new town, going out to new places and living independently for the first time. However, some of these changes could also increase your risk of becoming a victim of crime.

START OUT IN THE SAFEST WAY POSSIBLE Take some simple steps to protect yourself, your property and above all keep safe.

Safety & Security at Home and on Campus Halls of residence can be an attractive target for criminals. Be aware and take some common sense precautions. • Don’t let anyone into the building

unless you know them or have seen identification.

• Don’t let anyone you don’t know follow you through a controlled doorway. • If you’re ordering a takeaway, don’t give the delivery driver the keypad number for the door. • When leaving accommodation, lock all doors and windows.

• Don’t keep flat keys and car keys on the same key ring.

• Don’t put your name or room number on your keyring. It could direct a thief to your property.

• Make sure your door entry system is working and doors are kept locked.

• Report any suspicious activity to campus security or the police.

• Don’t give keys to a tradesperson – they could make copies.

• Don’t leave keys in locks or in places an intruder could easily find them.

• Go to your local police office for more advice.


Renting a Property/ Flat Sharing It’s essential that you properly research a potential property. • When viewing accommodation, take someone along, or tell them where you’re going and when you’ll be back. • Think about the level of security. Are there locks on doors and windows and do they work? • Meet all potential flatmates in advance. • Get to know your neighbours. If you’re on good terms with them they may look out for your property whilst you’re out. Make sure potential landlords have the appropriate local authority licence. Landlords of student flats

may need a licence for a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’, which aims to ensure that the accommodation is safe, well managed and of good quality. Visit for more information. Ask for ID from the landlord to establish that they are who they say they are. Never pay a deposit without viewing the property and ensuring the rental agreement and the property are genuine. For further information and advice for landlords and tenants visit advice-for-landlords-and-tenant


Protect Your Valuables You can take steps to secure your valuables at home, on campus and while out: • Place details of your mobile phone, laptop, tablet, camera and other property on the National Mobile Property Register • Don’t leave possessions unattended, even in the library. • Take out contents insurance for your property.

Protect your mobile phone • Keep it out of sight and don’t attract attention to it when not in use. • Use the security lock. • Keep a record of the 15 digit IMEI number which is unique to the device and record it on To find the IMEI number, dial *#06#. • If your phone is lost or stolen, contact the police and service provider immediately.

More than 500,000 bikes are stolen in the UK each year, often having been poorly secured or not secured at all - help protect your bike

When out and about on your bike:

• Photograph your bike and record its details at

• Ideally, use two different types of lock – this makes it harder to steal.

• Keep a note of your bikes serial number (found on crankshaft). • Insure your bike, either on contents insurance or separately.

More than half of all bikes stolen are taken from the owner’s property. Always keep your bike out of sight.If your bike is stored in a common stairwell, shed or garage • Lock it with two locks to a secure banister or ground anchor.

• Lock your bike up every time you leave it using secure locks (i.e. D-locks or thick cable locks).

• Fasten your bike through the frame and wheel to a fixed object. • Lock your bike in a busy, well-lit place, in view of people or CCTV cameras. • Make the lock and bike hard to move when parked. • Remove bike accessories. • Vary your routine - lock up your bike in different ways & places. • For more information on how to protect your property and valuables, visit


Party Safe

Socialising is a major part of student life. Keep these simple steps in mind while having fun: • Plan your night out including how to get home. • Take your mobile phone with you and make sure it’s charged. • Stick with friends and avoid leaving parties or nights out with strangers, look after one another and make sure you all get home safely. • Be sensible about how much alcohol you drink - a drunk person is much more vulnerable and an easier target for criminals. • In Scots Law it is rape if you have sexual intercourse with anyone who is unable to give their consent because they are too drunk or under the influence of drugs. • If you leave a drink unattended then don’t go back to it. • If you feel very drunk or unwell, ask a trusted friend or a member of the club or pub management for help.

• Look after bags and valuables. Don’t attract attention to a phone, especially if you’re under the influence of alcohol. • Keep enough money to pay for your journey home. • Stay alert at cash machines. Hide your PIN, be aware of who’s behind you and don’t flash your cash. Avoid using them if you’ve had too much to drink. • Always call and book a taxi from a licensed private hire / taxi firm and make sure the vehicle pulling up is definitely your hire before you get into it.

• Where possible, avoid travelling alone. • If walking home, keep to well-lit, busy areas and never take isolated shortcuts. • Walk facing traffic so a car cannot pull up behind you. • Personal attack alarms are good but don’t carry weapons or pepper sprays as this is illegal in Scotland. • Have keys ready when you’re approaching the car  or your accommodation. • Don’t drive under the influence.


Substance Abuse

Using illegal drugs has serious repercussions. Don’t risk your health, or your life and why jeopardise your future career opportunities with a drug conviction? It doesn’t matter which drug or how little. Don’t take New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), sometimes misleadingly known as ‘legal highs’, there is no ‘safe’ amount or way to take them.

They can contain harmful and toxic chemicals and have been linked to deaths. You don’t know what you’re getting or what effect it will have on you. Some have been found to contain controlled drugs, meaning you could be charged with drug possession even when you thought it was legal.  Find out more at: or

Social Networking

Social networking is a great way to keep in contact, especially if you’re away from home. However, think carefully about what you say and the trouble you could find yourself in if you make offensive or intimidating comments. Online abuse such as ‘cyber bullying’, may be treated as a criminal matter. In addition, criminals seek out information on social networking sites to target individuals and properties, so take some basic precautions:

• Think about the pictures you upload and who may share them. • Don’t share private, personal or confidential information or material online which you wouldn’t be happy for your family or friend’s to see. • Be careful how much you reveal about where you are and what you’re doing. • Prospective employers may view your social media profiles.

• Use privacy settings. • Don’t post offensive or intimidating comments.

• Remember that deleting data does not always guarantee permanent removal.

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Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when your personal information is used without your knowledge or permission. Criminals use it to obtain credit cards, products and services, loans and mortgages and commit other types of criminal acts in your name, leaving you responsible for the consequences.

Identity thieves don’t just steal your money; they steal your name and reputation for their own financial gain. This can seriously jeopardise your financial future.

Online Scams Phishing is when criminals use fake emails or web links to get personal information, such as passwords, usernames, or bank account details. A compelling reason is often given to persuade you to go to a website or click on an email link, often supposedly from a well known company.

The websites often appear genuine but are designed to trick people into entering personal details. The criminal can then access your identity, steal from your bank account or infect your computer with a virus which allows them to control your system.

Things to look out for:

Protect yourself:

• Email uses generic terms like ‘Dear account holder’.

• Keep browser software updated and use spam filters.

• Email is threatening and states that urgent action is required.

• Avoid risky sites, including supposed investment sites.

• Email contains an unrecognisable link.

• Never click on an email link from an unknown source.

• Spelling errors contained within the email.

• Never give out your personal details or passwords.

• Email address is different from trusted company website.

• Don’t leave personal documents lying around.

• Emails from a company you have no business with.

• Shred personal correspondence before disposing.

• No padlock sign on website and no https:// at the beginning of the web address.

For more information about online safety and security go to

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Did you know? Money Mules are exploited by criminals to use their bank account to transfer money from one country to another, usually from where the criminal lives. Normally the mule is offered a cash incentive. Recruitment is often through:

• Unsolicited emails asking for assistance. • Contact via social networking sites. • False vacancies on websites posing as legitimate businesses. • Classified adverts in the press and online which look legitimate.

Be aware: • You’re breaking the law and could be charged with a criminal offence.

• Your bank account could be suspended. • All of the money involved could be seized from your account. • If convicted it may be difficult to get credit, a bank account or a job.

Avoid becoming a victim: • Offers of large amounts of cash for very little work or no prior experience could indicate a fraudulent scheme.

• Be cautious of overseas offers they can be difficult to verify. • Always research any company that offers you a job. • NEVER give your bank details to anyone unless you know and trust them and even then be cautious.

Contact Us Police Scotland is here to help and we are dedicated to keeping people safe. If you require non-urgent police assistance call 101, or in an emergency dial 999. For more information and safety advice visit If you have information about crime or criminals then report it anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at


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