University of Portsmouth students say ‘we don’t feel safe in the city...’

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MORE than half of students in Portsmouth say they do not feel safe in the city.

Undergraduates at the University of Portsmouth were sent a questionnaire from the Students’ Union asking their views about reporting crime to the police and the issues affecting them.

Of those who took part in the survey, 55 per cent said they did not safe on the city streets, and 38 per cent said they had been victims of crime but did not report it.

Half said they didn’t know how to report crime.

The study showed that 24 per cent said they had been victims of violence, 22 per cent had suffered bike theft and 10 per cent had been a victim of a sexual offence.

Mario Oliveros, the vice president for welfare and community at the union, said: ‘We had good feedback from students. I had only expected to have 100 in total but we had that number in the first two hours of the email being sent out.’

These results were shared at a meeting with Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire along with representatives from other unions in the region including University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University and University of Winchester.

Mr Hayes said: ‘Due to government cuts we are unable to man every footpath that is used by those walking home from university or the student union.’

Hampshire police is now working with students to get them to become more responsible for their own safety.

Officers have urged city students to follow the example of Solent university after a system was set up to allow those working late on campus to have someone to walk home with.

Mr Oliveros said: ‘It’s unfortunate that due to these cuts that the sort of crimes which affect our students’ union will not be a priority for the police. More police presence around the university would have made students feel safer.’

The university said it was not aware of an increase in the number of crimes against students in the city.

Bernie Topham, chief operating officer at the university said: ‘We’d like to understand more about the findings in the report and the reasons why students have a fear of crime in the city and whether there are any actions that we can put into place and will be working with the students’ union and the police on this.’

The university has also set up a Safer Students website to tackle the problem of increased crime towards students.

Find it at port.ac.uk/students/saferstudents/