Thousands of students across the country are getting ready to start university this summer and planning for Freshers’ Week is well underway.
Police Scotland are offering their advice for what will be a busy time for students and is looking to help people make the most of it.
Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, from the Safer Communities Department, said, “It’s an exciting time for people starting university and college courses.
“Everyone who’s gone to university will remember the stress of sorting out accommodation and going to their first Freshers’ Week.
“We have been working with partners to help and offer advice, and hopefully make it as stress free as possible.”
For those looking for accommodation, the advice is research any potential property. Try and visit the property first with someone you know. Criminals take advantage of this busy period, targeting students with accommodation fraud. You don’t want to find out once you arrive that you’ve actually got nowhere to live.
It’s also recommended you check any emails or phone calls relating to student loans and finance are genuine.
If you’re concerned about your property, immobilise.com is a website that lets you register your property, making it easier to return if it’s stolen.
The advice being offered is not only relevant for first time students but for returning and existing students too.
Police officers will be at various Fresher stalls across Scotland.
Chief Superintendent McKenzie said, “One of the best aspects of university and college is the social life. It’s an opportunity to meet different people and gain new experiences, but I’d like to remind people to be aware of certain things.
“Simple things like not leaving your drink unattended and not accepting a drink from a stranger are important for your safety. Look after your friends and take care of each other. Don’t go off on your own and only use registered taxis.
“If you’re offered drugs, you have no idea what they contain or how your body will react to taking them. Our advice is simple - there is no safe way to take drugs. If you see someone who has taken a substance and they are unwell, don’t hesitate seeking medical help.”
Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said, “The start of term is such a busy and exciting time for students, many of whom will be spending time in a new environment on campus or living away from home for the first time.
“University can be one of the best times of your life but it can also be a difficult adjustment which comes with a big increase in personal responsibility. We encourage all students to follow Police Scotland’s advice to stay safe online, at home and out and about alone or with friends.
“Everyone should know that it’s ok to find yourself needing help and much better to ask than to struggle alone.”
More information can be found on the Police Scotland website and social media accounts.