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Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has recently launched a Youth Engagement Team - a team of officers dedicated to working full-time with universities and students across the city of Manchester, in order to strengthen relationships and keep young people safe.
Inspector Gary Coglan and Sergeant Mike Lindup, are now the dedicated contacts for Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester, to make it easier for students to engage with the police and raise the issues that are important to them.
The launch of the team is part of GMP’s neighbourhood policing strategy, to work closer with educational establishments in order to help build positive relationships between young people and the police.
With a focus on improving relationships, the partnership will increase proactive work and engagement with students, to raise awareness and offer support around issues such as burglary, theft, sexual violence and drugs, allowing officers to share prevention information as well as signposting students and encouraging them to report incidents of crime.
Resources committed to the Youth Engagement Team have increased GMP’s visibility in student areas and are enabling the Force to quickly respond to any issues and incidents that occur on campus.
It’s important that students have their say on issues in their local community and are able to raise concerns on matters which affect them. To encourage this, throughout the course of the academic year, the Youth Engagement Team will run various initiatives such as; surgeries on campus, Q&A sessions and a student specific Independent Advisory Group (IAG).
The team won't just be focusing on prevention activity, they will also be clamping down on all crime and carrying out enforcement activity where appropriate. Since the launch of the Youth Engagement Team, there has been a series of arrests relating to various crimes committed against students, in student areas of Fallowfield and Hulme, as well as a decrease in bike thefts, burglaries and drug-related crimes across university campuses.
Superintendent Richard Timson of GMP’s City of Manchester District said: “Students are an essential part of the community across Greater Manchester, so it's important that we continue to work together with the universities to ensure students receive appropriate support.
“We are keen to continue to build upon and maintain the positive relationships which we have developed with our universities and students, so that young people feel safe. We are pleased to be able to strengthen the arrangements that the Student Safety Partnership, which incorporates; the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council, have developed over the last few years."
Chief Inspector Cara Charlesworth, GMP’s Student Safety Lead, said: “Our shared intention with the universities along with key partners, is to keep students safe. We hope that the work of the team will continue to help build trust and confidence with students, so that they know that we are here to support them and come to their assistance when they need us. We would encourage students to report any incidents to the police so that we can assist them and signpost them to specialist support agencies, if required."
Adrian Hopkins, Chair of the Student Safety Group, said: “I can see that the Youth Engagement Team is definitely a step forward. It engenders a better liaison between the university security teams and GMP, which provides a better flow of information and a consistency that wasn’t previously achievable. This really supports an intelligence-led and evidence-based partnership approach to securing a safer environment for students.”
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Keeping all residents of Manchester safe is and will remain the top priority of Manchester City Council. With the creation of the Youth Engagement Team, Greater Manchester Police will be able to continue the work they have done to forge closer links with university students and ensure that the issues and concerns important to them can be addressed."