student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Safety and Security

Your safety and security is very important.  Hopefully you will general feel safe studying on campus, in University accommodation and living out in the community.  Whilst the University will do all that it can to ensure you are safe and secure on campus and in Residences, try to make sure you do all you can to make sure you remain as safe and secure too. 

The University Accommodation Service has a range of safety advice for students in Newcastle University Residences as well as out in the community.

Below we have some general advice for all students, but which might be especially useful to students living in the private rented sector where there is an even greater need for you to consider your own safety and security.

Home Security & Burglary

Police evidence suggests that students are the most targeted section of the society by criminals.  Therefore try to ensure you and your possessions are safe and secure.

It might sound obvious but ways to keep your home safe include:

  1. Use the burglar alarm if there is one.  Get written permission from your landlord/agent to change the burglar alarm code when you move in. Failure to use an alarm where one is present could invalidate the Landlords insurance and they could then pursue you for any losses they incur.
  2. If there is inadequate outside lighting ask if your landlord is willing to install some. 
  3. Report any suspicious behaviour and let your neighbours know and call the police. 
  4. Check out any history of crime in your area using the Police Crime Map.
  5. Keep windows and doors locked when you go out and even when you are home.
  6. Even the best security won't deter thieves if you don't lock the door
  7. Don't announce on social media that you have got any new purchases or that you are going to be away.
  8. Don't leave /keys on display.
  9. Place a notice asking for no flyers to be left outside.
  10. Ensure your home looks secure on the outside (alarms, locks etc.)
  11. If you go out in the evening, close the curtains and set light timers.
  12. Don't hide spare keys under the mat, under a plant pot or elsewhere.
  13. If you store large items such as bikes outside/in a shed, make sure they are secure and use bike locks. Even indoors, lock it up with a d-lock.
  14. Inform the landlord or agent if you are going to be away (there will probably be a clause in your contract about this too).
  15. If you have a trusted neighbour let them know you will be away and ask them to push through any leaflets sticking out of the letterbox on the door.

Gas Safety

If you are living in rented accommodation, your landlord has to have any gas appliance that they own regularly maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

The landlord must issue you with a copy of the gas safety certificate before you move in and within 28 days following the annual gas safety check if this occurs during your tenancy.

Notify HSE - Gas Safety Advice Line - 0800 300 363 and the council if your landlord does not, on request, provide you with a copy of the record.

If you smell gas call National Gas Emergency Service (24 hours) - 0800 111 999

 

 

Carbon Monoxide

What is it?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas. You can't see, taste or smell it but it can kill quickly without warning.

It is produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. Even appliances that have been regularly tested can produce CO so it is advisable to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home and ensure vents aren't covered or blocked. Be Carbon Monoxide aware.

Does my landlord have to provide a carbon monoxide alarm?

A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room containing a solid fuel-burning appliance such as a wood burner.  You may however wish to purchase one just for your own peace of mind. 

What should I look out for?

yellow or orange rather than blue flames (except fuel effect fires or flueless appliances which display this colour flame)soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances

pilot lights that frequently blow out

increased condensation inside windows

What should I do if I think my appliance is spilling carbon monoxide?

Call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999

Call your landlord/agent. If they fail to act immediately inform Environmental health

Switch off the appliance and shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve

Open all doors and windows to ventilate the room

Visit your GP and tell them that you believe you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide

Electrical Safety

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1st June 2020. 

Landlords must now get the electrical installation checked at least every 5 years by a properly qualified person. The electrical installation must be safe and your landlord must give you proof of this most likely in the form of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

Please note they don’t all look the same but here is a sample.   

These regulations will apply to you if you :

  1. signed your tenancy agreement after 1 July 2020 then your home will be covered by these requirements from 1 July 2020.
  2. signed your tenancy agreement before 1 July 2020, your home will be covered by these requirements from 1 April 2021.
  3. are considering renting a property then the landlord must provide you, as a prospective tenant, with a copy of the most recent report within 28 days of your request for this.

The report will identify if any hazards were found and indicate if there is a severe hazard, potential hazards, whether further investigation is necessary or if an improvement is recommended.

More information can be found in the Government guidance for tenants including how these hazards are rated and what the ratings mean. These regulations do not apply to people who live with their landlord, sometimes known as Lodgers.

The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations. It is good practice for Landlords to regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance that they provide to ensure their safety. You’re responsible for making sure that any of your own electrical appliances are safe.

If the inspection has not been carried out or you have not be provided with the report you can report this to the local council who have strong legal powers. They can insist the landlord to do safety works or even do the works themselves if necessary. Local authorities also have the power to fine landlords up to £30,000 if they do not comply with their legal obligations under the Regulations.

Newcastle campus students will likely be covered by Newcastle City Council or Gateshead Council.  London Campus students can search their local council by post code.

Fire Safety

Smoke Alarms

It might sound obvious but it is very important that you routinely check the smoke alarms are working in your property as this could save your life.  Try to build this into something else that you routinely do so that it becomes a regular habit. If you take the batteries out, replace them straight away as its easy to forget.  Replace them when necessary.  Don’t cover the alarm for any reason.  It is there to protect you. 

Never leave candles or a naked flame unattended. 

In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999. 

If you live in a house in Newcastle with 3 or more unrelated people you are likely to be a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) that requires a licence.  These licences ensure there is adequate fire protection in the property.  This licence should be displayed in the property but if it isn’t and you are unsure, scroll to the bottom of this web page to search the registers.   If you still can’t find one contact the local council on psr@newcastle.gov.uk

If you live in a private rented property in London then this is a bit more complex as thee are multiple borough councils.  Contact your council to enquire.  Unfortunately some council web pages are difficult to navigate but if you need help the Student Advice Centre can always find this out for you. 

Smoking is the single biggest killer in accidental, fatal fires in the home.  These simple steps can help prevent a cigarette fire in the home: 

  • Never smoke in bed or tired.  It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight 
  • Never smoke when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire you could be less able to escape. 
  • Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.
  • Ensure your property has sufficient smoke alarms and test regularly.
  • Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down.  
  • Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn. 

                                                                                    

Personal Safety

Consider carrying a personal alarm and apply the ‘SIMPLE’ principle:

Stay Alert

If going out plan to stay safe

Make sure you avoid danger spots

Plan ahead

Listen to your instincts

Ensure you are cautious wherever you are.

 

Let someone know where you are going, who you will be with and when you are expected back and if your plans change, send them an update. 

Know the different ways to contact the police in the UK and locally at Northumbria Police for students in Newcastle and the Metropolitan Police for students in London.  They will have a lot of information to help keep you and your property safe and secure. Newcastle and Northumbria Universities have dedicated On Campus Police Services. This is not the case in London due to the size of the London campus, so contact with the usual police services would be necessary.   

In an Emergency ring 999 

Non-Emergency incidents can be reported by ringing 101 or via 101 web form - there is the option to display the page in many other languages.Preview

The University also has a Security Office which is staffed 24/7 if you ever feel worried or unsafe.  You can also report and incident or crime to them. 

Additionally, there is the Safezone app for all students and staff that connects you directly to the University security team if you need help while you are on campus

Water Safety

Legionella and Legionnaires disease and landlords responsibilities.

Employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, such as University Residence managers and private landlords, have a duty to protect people by identifying and controlling risks associated with legionella. Regular risk assessments are necessary and will help manage the legionella risks where it is necessary to:

  • reinstate a water system or start using it again
  • restart some types of air conditioning system

 

Even if the water system is still used regularly, there needs to be appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has more information on this and what a landlord needs to do.  As a tenant often has exclusive access to the property some of these responsibilities may be passed onto you during the tenancy. 

**COVID-19 If your building/property was closed/empty or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.  Take guidance from your provider/landlord or agent.

Landlords are required to ensure the property is safe and fit to live in from the outset. You may want to enquire before moving in how long since the property was last occupied and what Legionella controls and preventions have been made. 

Being safe near water

If you live near water be careful on nights out.  

  • Don’t let a night out end in tragedy – take a safe route home away from water.
  • Avoid walking near water even if the path is lit – it’s easy to miss trip hazards or even the water’s edge.
  • Stay with your group and don’t wander off.
  • Keep an eye on any friends who are worse for wear and help them home.
  • Make sure you store a taxi number in your phone and some emergency money at home so you can pay – if it’s at home you can’t lose it or accidentally spend it.

 

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Last updated: 17 November 2020