Officers from the Cathedrals ward Safer Neighbourhood team have launched the new Campus Watch initiative at London South Bank University with the aim of recruiting staff and students as special constables.
PC Kirsty Sharp with student Onorode Udu at the launch of the new scheme
The Campus Watch scheme is aimed at anyone involved in university life including students, lecturers, admin and support staff, caterers and security guards. Those who volunteer to become Specials will be sponsored by their university and will dedicate eight hours of their time, once every fortnight, to patrolling college grounds.
The Specials will not patrol at their own university, but at another of their choice in order to avoid a conflict of interests. This is with the exception of security staff. The Met will liaise with the university to ensure that recruits are fairly distributed and according to local policing needs. All the volunteers will have the same powers as full-time Met police officers.
PC Sharp said: "I have been involved with the university for the past two years and have regularly held police surgeries and advice days for the students. I was pleased yesterday to be able to promote the new Campus Watch scheme to the students and other people involved at South Bank. There was a lot of interest from both students and others employed by the university. It's a good scheme with benefits for the individual, the Met and the academic communities".
Whilst it is expected that the initiative will reduce crime and deter anti-social behaviour on university campuses, police claim that the personal benefits for those taking part are also "tremendous". The volunteers will receive free travel on London's tubes, buses and trains, first class training from experienced Met trainers and they will develop new skills, such as leadership and managing confrontation, which could transfer to current or future careers.
Anyone wishing to take part should be at least 18 and a half years old, of good character and health, and be reasonably fit.