University of Northampton campus gets its own beat bobbies

PC Martyn Buckby,  Sergeant Lorna Clarke, PC Karl Greenham, PC Christopher Holland, PC Martin Usher, PC Nikki Brooks
PC Martyn Buckby, Sergeant Lorna Clarke, PC Karl Greenham, PC Christopher Holland, PC Martin Usher, PC Nikki Brooks

A team of six police officers are to be based at Northampton's Waterside campus, making students feel safer and preventing crime.

The team is costing the University of Northampton £774,000 over three academic years, with more officers recruited to fill their former roles.

PC Nikki Brooks and Sergeant Lorna Clarke

PC Nikki Brooks and Sergeant Lorna Clarke

Apart from student-specific crime prevention advice, Sergeant Lorna Clarke and her five constables will be able to provide the type of local knowledge and familiar faces which makes community police teams so popular in the outside world.

Sgt Clarke said: "These students are a very specific demographic. Many of them are 18 and away from home for the first time.

"Criminals have a vulnerable target audience who, apart from anything else, have an inexperience of life.

"But we know the lecturers, we know where the CCTV cameras are and we'll know the students so we can get to the bottom of things quicker.

"Northamptonshire Police gets a lot from this. They have a team that knows very well an unusual environment."

There are benefits to the wider town of Sgt Clarke's 'bolt-on' team, which is on top of the university's security staff.

A scheme called Safer Route Home sees the police officers and uni security team patrol streets between the Platform students' union in George Row to Waterside Campus, covering Guildhall Road, Swan Street, Victoria Park and Becket's Park. A chaperone service also takes people on the final stretch over the footbridge.

Becky Bradshaw, head of safety and security at the university, said the general public will benefit from the scheme because it ensures students behave themselves on their way home but also makes those streets safer for everyone.

The economic knock-on effects of retaining 12,000 people and their student loans are good for the town.

Becky said: "We want to make sure we're known for being a safe uni, and attracting people here is good news for Northampton."