Updated: Saturday, 22nd February 2020 @ 5:50am

Safe Spots across Manchester will offer secure refuge for people who feel threatened

Safe Spots across Manchester will offer secure refuge for people who feel threatened

By Michaela Ivantcheva

People who feel threatened on the streets of Manchester are to be offered a safe bolthole as part of a new scheme devised by university chiefs and local police.

Shops, businesses and organisations that are open late in the night will display special logos identifying them as part of the ‘Safe Spot’ scheme.

The new initiative, developed by the University of Manchester Students' Union (UMSU), Manchester Metropolitan University Union (MMUnion) and the Greater Manchester Police (GMP), aims at securing areas of refuge for anyone who feels threatened on the streets of the city.

The project will start with a safe ‘corridor’ down Oxford Road with the intention to grow and spread to other parts of the centre.

Shops, restaurants, bars and pubs are being asked to sign up to the scheme as the project rolls out.

“Those seeking refuge may be offered a drink of water, a phone to call a cab, friend or other service. We hope that this will reduce both security fears, and the risks associated with walking or cycling at night,” said Jeremy Buck, UMSU Communications Officer.

Staff members who are part of the scheme will undergo special training teaching them how to deal with people who are panicking or feeling threatened.

Students and young people who feel unsafe will be able to find shelter there, speak to the trained staff and get access to phones and special numbers.

The project, which has been in development for a number of months now, was speeded up after Anuj Bidve’s murder. Mr Bidve was shot in the head in Salford on Boxing Day while he walking along Ordsall Lane with friends.

Mr Buck said: “The tragic attack on Anuj Bidve in Salford has highlighted that, while Manchester is generally a safe city, disturbing and rare events such as this do happen, and we should be doing what we can to minimise the risk to members of the community.

“Our work involves both proactive initiatives improving the relationship between students and local permanent residents to improve integration and shared responsibility, as well as reactive work such as the Safe Spot scheme that deal with some of the risks.”

Mr Buck confirmed that the initial roll-out of the scheme will be in February. A wider awareness campaign is planned in September when new students arrive.

A list of suggested businesses is currently with the GMP who will contact the respective organisations and secure interest for the scheme.