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02 October 2008
The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has visited the University to see firsthand the community partnership which has helped to make Cardiff one of the safest cities in the UK for students.
A South Wales Police team, led by Student Liaison Officer PC Bob Keohane, works closely with the University’s security staff, Students’ Union, city councillors, private landlords and property managers to cut down on student crime. The successful result of these close partnerships is that student crime in Cardiff has been dramatically reduced by 61% over the last six years.
The Cardiff safety partnership, the prototype for 370 similar partnerships now operating around the UK, was established in 1996 by Professor Jonathan Shepherd, director of the University's Violence and Society Research Group. Earlier this year the Home Office’s Violent Crime Action Plan praised the work of the Cardiff Partnership in targeting violence hot spots as "best practice" for the rest of the country.
Mrs Smith met with members of the South Wales Police, as well as representatives from the Students’ Union executive and the Labour Students Society, at Talybont Court to hear about various policing initiatives taking place across the city.
As thousands of new students arrive in Cardiff at the beginning of the new academic year, PC Keohane and his team ensure that they are provided with appropriate crime prevention advice. Talks are given during Freshers’ Week, safety advice leaflets are distributed, and letters are sent to the parents of new students asking them to get in touch with PC Keohane if they have any concerns.
As well as keeping students well informed there is also an increased public presence of police officers in the Cathays area, park rangers regularly patrol the Taff Trail, and the University’s security cameras are linked to police cameras in order to ensure maximum safety.
PC Keohane said: "With students making up over 10% of the city’s population, we take student safety very seriously. Cardiff University’s security team does some excellent work with us to keep students safe. The figures for the reduction in student crime in Cardiff show that the police partnership with the University is producing definite results".
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