Lending a helping hand

It’s been another eventful start to a new term here in Durham! The closure of Prebends and Kingsgate Bridges, and the recent developments to the Market Place, meant the Police operation planned for the arrival of our freshers and their parents to the Bailey colleges had to be dramatically changed. This could have caused major problems in the city, but thankfully – with the invaluable help of University Security and individual colleges – the weekend went really well. Some staff felt it was the best freshers weekend they had experienced.

The first week of term is always really busy for me, with safety/security talks to present to all freshers at each individual college, a police stand at the DSU freshers fair, and matriculation services to monitor. I’ve had a great time, and it’s great to see the excitement on the faces of our new students, some of whom have never been away from home before. Don’t forget to say hello when you see me, as I don’t have many friends!

The excitement of a new term is also noticed by Durham criminals who know it is a time when they can seek rich pickings from vulnerable students. Most students are experiencing something totally new at this time of the year, either moving away from home for the first time to live in their new college, or livers out finding freedom in their own homes around the city. Crime prevention can be the last thing on their mind so the police work very hard, along with the University, to remind everyone to lock doors and windows and keep their valuables secure. I have already put some of my cardboard ‘hands’ through open windows of student rooms to remind them that ‘a very thin burglar’ could have gained entry and stolen their belongings. Since term started, there have two burglaries around colleges where laptops have been taken from open windows, and bikes are still being targeted from colleges and livers out areas, so please get everything locked up.

On a different note, 99.99% of Durham students are well-behaved, well-mannered individuals, but some can get into a spot of bother when they have had one drink too many. The vast majority of student-related complaints received by the police are connected to alcohol excess. These can be noisy parties at Livers out homes which disturb local neighbours who often have young families, are elderly, or simply have to get up for work in the morning, or are incidents connected to students travelling to and from college in the early hours. I, along with several colleagues, have been working a series of nightshifts over the last few weeks to try and help students and locals alike. I am sure we have helped some locals by keeping the noise down and have also helped students by keeping them out of trouble, but there is still some way to go. Obviously we can’t stop every incident before it happens and unfortunately something very unsavoury occurred on the Bailey last week; a large group of rowdy students surrounded and then climbed onto a lady’s car, while she was sat in the driver’s seat! CCTV evidence is being examined and further action may be taken, as clearly these people have overstepped the mark. Nobody has a problem with students enjoying themselves but please remember there are consequences to your actions, and being drunk is not an excuse. So…




As I said before, the vast majority of our students are fantastic young people who I am sure have a great future ahead of them, starting here in Durham. I will always do my best to help you, but I also need you to help me. We are introducing a STUDENTWATCH scheme for livers out, so if you are interested please let me know.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @DurhamUniPol

And finally the news,

Statistics show a man gets knocked off his bike every day in Elvet……..

………………..and he’s sick of it !!!

Enjoy yourselves, behave yourselves, and stay safe!!


Phil Raine

University Liaison Officer

Durham City Police Office

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