This important subject concerns personal safety and property/possessions safety, and protecting against ID theft. It certainly crosses over into other subjects, such as accommodation, found in this booklet/information resource.
The UK, especially the Bournemouth Christchurch Poole (BCP), and Dorset area is a very safe place to visit, live or study in. However, crime incidents can take place, and take many forms from ID theft, through to opportunist theft, to hate crime incidents.
Keep receipts, mark possessions if able to identify them as yours, and take photos of your valuables, especially corresponding purchase receipts and the identification marks mentioned.
For Halls of Residence:
Always on leaving lock your room’s door
Don’t invite anyone you have just met to come to your room
Off Campus accommodation:
You should ideally go and see potential accommodation at night as well as in the daytime, to get a feel of the building and neighbourhood and how safe they are
For flat shares, always ensure you meet those that you could be sharing with before you commit to moving in
Please also see our Accommodation section for further guidance on this very important topic
When in public settings:
Stay alert at all times, and don’t show if you are carrying a lot of cash. Keep mobile phones and wallets out of back pockets or general visibility; inside pockets are best, and do not leave your jacket if you have taken it off and your phone or wallet is inside. Ladies should keep handbags or shoulder bags zipped/closed, and should be kept firmly in your grip and always in your sight (small backpacks are ideal as they can’t be snatched, and valuables can be kept securely in the bottom.
You should familiarise yourself with the layout of the town or city you are studying at, finding out about any areas to avoid, especially at night.
When going out, always let at least one trusted friend and/or flatmate know where you are going and when you expect to be back by – this is especially important for female students.
On buses and trains, and early morning or late night underground trains (London) always make sure you are in a part of the bus or train that has other passengers (but avoid sitting near anyone who looks aggressive or under the influence of alcohol or drugs).
Regarding late night and even early evening buses with hardly any passengers: you should sit on the ground section as close to view of the driver as possible.
ID (‘identity’) theft:
This involves criminals stealing your identity (ID) in order to purchase goods at your cost, take money from your bank account or secure loans, or even use your identity to impersonate you in making contact with others in your name, online. You can protect yourself by:
Don’t leave bank statements, bills, council letters in plain view at your home (especially in flat-shares) as these provide the type of ID criminals need
Also do not throw away any of the above without first shredding or tearing up so details can’t be read
Sometimes fraudsters will pretend they are calling on behalf of your bank, to trick you into revealing confidential details such as your password (PIN: Personal Identity Number) or passport details, date of birth, security questions and their answers.
The same applies to unlooked for emails, especially those with links that lead to asking for the type of information above.
On establishing utility company (electricity, water, gas, etc.) payment accounts try and avoid giving your date of birth or important personal details such as your mother’s maiden (her family name before she was married) name.
Utility companies and often local authorities/councils will ask for your email address and mobile number. If possible, ask why such information is needed, because for example even major UK government agencies and government departments have a poor record on how they look after such essential contact details – this is why you will from time to time on email or text/or mobile call receive contacts from companies and services attempting to sign you up or sell you something: this even when you never contacted them or shared your contact information with them.
On your data protection rights it is valuable to familiarise yourself with GDPR requirements, as you are likely to need knowledge of these regarding some aspects of research or data collection, in work settings, as well as for personal ID security: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/ When you move address always ensure you contact Royal Mail to ensure any post/letters are forwarded to your new address: https://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/redirection