A new police post has been opened at Bangor University which has a population of around 12,000 students.
The initiative has been welcomed by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC who visited the university police team which is based at the university’s Main Arts Library on College Road.
The police office is just inside the entrance to the library which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Mr Roddick said: “I think it’s a first class idea and an acknowledgement by North Wales Police of the importance of young people and of students in particular because students live a life which is different from everyone else.
“They have their own lifestyles and their own attractions and their own demands and also their own particular issues and they need the consolation of knowing that there is a police service within their college.
“The population here is larger than the population of Caernarfon, my home town and the town in which I live and I know what a population of this size can create in terms of policing demands.
“Students are entitled to the same amount of safety and care as the rest of us as members of the public but they are having it which is a good thing.
“Making sure the police are easily visible and available to anyone who needs them on campus should also provide reassurance to the students and staff at the university.”
According to Inspector Neil Thomas, he was conscious of the need to have a focal point for students in terms of police contact.
He said: “We’re mindful of the fact that the student population accounts for a very large percentage of the Bangor community and it’s a very important element of that community.
“We looked at a number of options and this was identified as the best location in terms of student footfall as the library is open 24 hours a day during the term time. It shows a visible police presence on site which adds to the security and confidence to the student hub”.
“We have a very high percentage of international students here in Bangor and this will hopefully give them the confidence to come to the police with any sort of information or anything they want to pass on to us.”
The public face of North Wales Police at the university is PC Helen O’Reilly, University Community Beat Manager, who is backed up by two Police Community Support Officers.
She said: “We’re getting a very good reaction from the students – I think they like to see a friendly face, somebody they know and recognise and we’re trying to get out and around a lot more as well. They can see me on the hall sites so people will know who I am and they can approach me and find me approachable.
“I love the role and I work very well with the security staff here and the other staff. The staff in the library have been fantastically welcoming.
“I want to make the student experience at the university a safe environment, remind them how to make themselves safer, walking around at night, locking their doors and so on.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Oliver Turnbull, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning at the university.
He said: “Having a police presence here is a reassurance to the students to understand that there’s something which will locally protect them.
“While Bangor is a very safe location, security is an increasingly important issue for the students.”