Policing students are being trained to become 'nighttime guardians' for the Liverpool City Region.
The development of the ‘guardian project’ will see LJMU student volunteers be trained alongside street pastors to provide support, to those who need it, in Liverpool’s nighttime economy, such as helping people get home or providing emotional support.
Four of the students involved in the project were featured on the BBC Sunday Morning Politics Show this weekend, as a camera crew filmed the work of the Street Pastors and the student volunteers, out on the streets.
The project and training are part of Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioners’ strategy to reduce violence against women and girls across the region, as well as being part of the national Safer Streets work funded by the Home Office. The ‘guardian project’ is open to all second and third year Policing students, with the potential for it to be rolled out to other LJMU students, and other Liverpool universities, in the future.
Students involved in the training will take on a 6-week programme with which will see them train in the classroom and shadow nighttime Street Pastors, before they head out into the nighttime economy in April.
One of LJMU’s Policing student volunteers, Georgia Lindsay, said:
"I have experienced what every other woman has experienced when they go out in town and that is, kind of like, you do have the fear of walking home on your own.
"Your phone might die... you might just get into situations that unfortunately happen when you are out on the streets drinking."
Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, said:
“There is no excuse for sexual violence. Through Safer Streets Merseyside, we are taking a multi-faceted approach to tackling it – not just challenging perpetrators and unacceptable behaviour but also looking to change attitudes, while taking practical steps to make sure women feel safer and give them the confidence to report incidents and seek support.
“This campaign will build on the hard work from last year and is an essential part of our ongoing commitment to bring about change for thousands of women across our region now, and into the future.”
LJMU Director of Student Advice and Wellbeing, Yvonne Turnbull, said:
“Being part of this project alongside Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police and other partners, shows LJMU’s civic commitment to making sure our streets are safer for women, girls and the whole Liverpool community.
“The delivery of the campaign will address those priority issues when it comes to women and girls’ safety and make sure it’s crystal clear that there is no excuse for sexual violence.
“Our Policing students are not only vital in the implementation of the ‘guardian project’ and the Safer Streets Campaign but can also take important work placed learning from this opportunity, that can be used for their own studies and future careers.”
Find out more about the Safer Streets Merseyside campaign or read the BBC’s coverage of the project.