Finding out about student support: Security

Posted in: mental health and wellbeing, security, support

One of my key areas of responsibility as PVC (SE) is student wellbeing and pastoral support. Most of us are familiar with Student Support Services and what a brilliant job they do in supporting our students but one thing I have grown to appreciate more fully since starting the role is how many other teams and services across the university and SU are out there doing amazing work to support students (and staff!).

It can be hard for both staff and students to always understand what these teams do - especially when we are busy in our own roles and potentially siloed from the wider initiatives that are happening.

Over the coming months I am going to be meeting with colleagues (University and SU) to find out more about their roles and how they support our students. Hopefully this will help staff across the university understand more about what’s available so we can all support students and each other as a community.

An evening with Security

The first team I had the pleasure of spending time with was Security, when I went on patrol with them last month. I chose a Wednesday evening in the hope there would be plenty going on. I joined Gareth Eyles (Senior Security Officer) at 9pm and we set off on what would be a ‘normal’ evening for him. We visited a large number of accommodation blocks on campus checking on some general health and safety issues but also just chatting to students in the kitchens and social spaces. Clearly Gareth is seen as a friendly face in the accommodation rather than an ‘enforcement officer’ and has a real insight into what happens within the halls. The security team are an extension of the wellbeing support we offer to students and an integral part of our pastoral support mechanisms, supporting students living both on campus and in the city. The team operates 24/7 and all officers are trained in first aid at work and mental health first aid. They work closely with Student Support Services and the Student Living Support team particularly when students have serious mental health issues and may need immediate support from the NHS.

On that Wednesday evening we had to deal with a fire alarm in a kitchen and subsequent evacuation of Norwood House, immediately followed by a call from the control room letting us know that some students in the city had phoned to say they were worried about their friend who had had too much to drink. We went down the hill in Security’s ambulance (yes, they have an ambulance!) to collect the student and bring them back to their accommodation on campus, by which time they had sobered up significantly and were both apologetic and very grateful. I am not aware of any other University security teams who go to this level to support students and I know it is really appreciated.

Exhausted, I finally left campus shortly after midnight, but I know that Gareth will have been very busy until his shift ended at 4am. The evening provided me with a real insight into what happens on (and off) campus after hours and how security provide an invaluable service to our students, regardless of whether they live in our halls or private accommodation. For me, this visit reinforced the sheer variety of student issues the security team respond to at all hours, whether it’s welfare support, dealing with a sudden maintenance issue, crime prevention or police liaison, or helping students locked out in the middle of the night. They also reminded me what a big source of support they are for staff working on campus too.

Thanks for having me, Gareth!

If you would like to hear or see more about what Security do, then please view the video below.

If you have any questions about how you should support a student, or you need further guidance, please read the Student Services webpages for staff or get in touch with the Staff Advice Line on 01225 384321 or extension 4321. The advice line is available for all staff.

Posted in: mental health and wellbeing, security, support

Student Services Advice for Staff


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