Safety and Security
Security is paramount
In these times of heightened security, the issue of safety is high on the list of important factors for both students and their parents. Whilst moving away from home for the first time does come with its worries and concerns, it should be an exciting time of new experiences. We understand this and that’s why Sodexo Security Services exists: to provide a safe, secure and supportive environment for all our residents and to help them settle in and transition smoothly to independent living.
Security officers with a difference
Key to the service are our team members called Facilities Support Officers. Whilst they are all SIA licensed and trained to provide the range of traditional security services like patrolling, access control, CCTV monitoring and First Aid, their training and role extends far beyond this. We encourage all our Facilities Officers to continue their professional development by participating in our security development programme, endorsed by The International Professional Security Association but every day they provide a first point of contact for students, not only for incident reporting but to offer help and support with a whole range of sometimes complex and personal problems. Experts in conflict management, they can help with good order and noise issues and even mediate in problems between flat members, sensitively making sure that one person’s welfare is not affected by the “enjoyment” of another.
As a regular presence in the residence, they are trained to recognise the signs which may indicate a student is lonely or depressed or struggling with issues of health or wellbeing. Sometimes, being a good listener and a friendly face is enough, sign posting resources that might help whilst, at the same time, knowing when to pass the problem across to the appropriate supportive team or authority such as pastoral care or the police. Our officers act as “student ambassadors”, always presenting a feeling of safety and a caring attitude.
What our students think of our support officers
When we ask our students what makes living in our residences such a great experience, they always credit our teams; that’s everyone from the cleaners to the managers, but the Facilities Support Officers are the people they see the most and who play such a key role in making sure that a Student Living Residence is a home from home, not just a place to stay.
Our support officers make sure our students settle in
We don’t ever want your son or daughter to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about talking to the security team or asking for help. They are always ready to listen and help and are mines of useful information about the residence, the local area, the university/college and where you can go next for more information and help. Our security officers will check in regularly with your son or daughter, asking:
· Are you lonely, homesick or finding it difficult to settle in?
· Are you unsure how the university operates?
· Are you concerned about one of the students in your flat and don’t know what to do or how to help?
· Has something happened that you don’t know what to do about?
What our support officers typically handle
Here are some of the recurring problems that Facilities Support Officers sort out on a daily basis. These include-
Lockouts, residents losing keys/fobs
Worried parents asking officers to check on their child as they cannot contact them (they are usually asleep or just not answering their phone but officers react to every enquiry)
First aid incidents,
Fire activations, (whether accidental from smoking / cooking or real activations)
Trespass by non-Residents
The role our students play in safety and security
Creating a really safe and secure environment is everyone’s responsibility so we need our students to play their part by taking sensible precautions to prevent crime as well. We ask our students to:
Always close and lock your windows and door when you are away from your room or flat even if it is just for a few minutes
Never wedge doors open (especially not fire doors in communal areas).
Property mark your possessions - property marking pens are available from your site reception
Don’t let anybody you don’t know into your block or flat. All University staff and contractors working on our behalf carry identification
If you do see anybody acting suspiciously contact the Police and, if you can, your site reception
Please don’t leave your valuables where they can be seen from outside your room
Never label your keys with your address and never put your keys in a bag that contains anything with your address on wherever possible. Inform your site reception straight away if you lose your keys and never give your keys to anyone else
Don’t feel embarrassed, but REPORT any loss of keys/fobs to the staff responsible for your residence. Lost or stolen fobs can be rendered useless in minutes, and the University can arrange for locks to be changed, should a key go missing.