Police launch safety campaign for Freshers Week

Police want to keep students safe on nights out

Durham Constabulary has announced a campaign to keep students safe during Freshers Week.

The initiative will include increased patrols around river banks and crowd management in Walkergate, where Loveshack and the Bishop’s Mill (Lloyd’s) are located.

It follows the recent deaths of two Durham University students, who drowned in the River Wear after nights out drinking.

Sope Peters, 20, an economics student from Hatfield, went missing on October 29 last year, while Luke Pearce, 19, an engineering student from St Cuthbert’s, drowned on May 11.

Inspector Colin Dobson, head of Durham Police’s alcohol harm reduction unit said: “Freshers’ week is one of those times of the year when there is excessive alcohol consumption and we are working to reduce the harm.

“The purpose is to promote a safe environment for the new students to really have a good time and to enjoy Durham City.

“But we are so aware that alcohol led to the death or two students last year and we really want to recognise the vulnerability the students put themselves in and do something positive about it.”

Insp Dobson also announced bosses at the Walkergate complex have agreed to hire an events management company to keep the area safer.

“That will free up police time to patrol the wider area where we think people could be vulnerable, particularly down at the river banks and back streets,” he said.

Professor Graham Towl, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Warden at Durham University said: “The recent tragic incidents have reinforced our drive to communicate clearly with students regarding their safety and wellbeing.

“During Induction Week, we have arranged for representatives from Durham Constabulary to give presentations to our students on the dangers of alcohol, providing advice on how many units are in different types of drinks and guidance on safe drinking. They will also advise students about staying safe on nights out.

“The police have a robust plan in place to help ensure safety which complements the activities we run.

“The University’s Students’ Union and our colleges run sensible drinking campaigns and raise awareness about student safety around the city.

“In addition, a number of our colleges offer free soft drinks throughout Induction Week and run engaging welcome events and activities that are not focussed on alcohol.”

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