Sunderland students getting ready to enjoy Freshers Week are being warned by police to keep safe and know their limits.
Kicking off for two weeks on September 16, Freshers Week is a rite of passage for many new students coming to the city, but Northumbria Police are asking students to ensure they keep safe while having a good time.
Southern Area Command Chief Inspector Paul Milner said police have teamed up with the city’s Pub Watch as part of their existing operation, Operation Guardian, in an effort to keep students safe this Freshers Week.
He said although police want students to enjoy themselves, they want them to put their safety first.
He said: “From September 16 onwards, Sunderland city centre will see thousands of new students coming into our area.
“Sunderland is a great place to study and is also a fantastic place to have a good night out, which is great, but the message that we want to get out to members of the community and new students, is to look after yourself.
“When you come in to the centre and out with your friends having a drink, please know your limits.
“Don’t get yourself in a vulnerable position.
“When you come out with friends, try and plan your way home before you go out together, and when you are out together, make sure you stick together.
“Bring your mobile phone and keep it with you.
“Don’t accept drinks from anyone you don’t know or don’t trust. Keep an eye on your drink and don’t leave it unattended.
“If you feel unwell, seek assistance from the staff or door staff at the bar you are at, or approach a police officer.”
Inspector Milner said police run an operation called Operation Guardian, week in week out to keep revellers safe, but said there will also be extra officers on patrol during the busy Freshers Week period.
He added: “We will have lots of police officers on patrol as part of an operation we already have, called Operation Guardian, which is a specific operation for Sunderland city centre, designed and orchestrated around vulnerability.
“We have officers specially trained to identify vulnerability at strategic points in and around Sunderland city centre.” Police will also be continuing to work with Pub Watch, a scheme designed to ensure everyone has a safe night out.
Pub Watch chairman Nik Chapman said: “Pub Watch runs all the time and is something we use to get the police out for support where it is needed. “We use radios to contact the police 24/7, every venue has a radio, and they can also contact 999 or 101.”
Inspector Milner added: “Go out as a group, plan your route home and stick together.
“We don’t want to dampen anyone’s fun, but want to be students to be mindful.”