Safety Tips

25 November 2019

With the dark evenings of winter now upon us, its worth reminding ourselves of some practical advice to keep safe

General advice

  • Avoid walking alone if possible. If you know beforehand that you'll be travelling home after dark, try and find a friend or colleague who will be taking a similar route.
  • If you can't avoid walking alone, tell others where you're going and when you're expected to arrive/return. Arrange to check in with them.
  • If anything untoward does happen, you may find you are more likely to get help by shouting a specific instruction, such as “Call the guards" rather than “Help".
  • There are personal safety apps that can be downloaded, some free of charge, so this may be something you want to consider.
  • The key to staying safe whilst travelling in the dark is to trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy about a situation, then it is best to steer clear. Avoid people that look suspicious and only make brief eye contact with those passing by. If strangers approach you, do not stop to talk to them. Instead firmly insist that you are in a hurry as someone is expecting you. This may put off a would-be attacker as they know you're accounted for.

Whilst walking

  • Stick to busy streets if you can. Avoid poorly-lit areas, deserted parks, or quiet alleyways.
  • To minimise the impact of theft, separate essentials such as keys, money and ID detailing your home address. Keep them inside your pockets. If your bag is then taken, you can still get home safely.
  • At this time of year in particular, people often carry heavy bags full of Christmas shopping, which can unfortunately make them a possible target. Put items in one bag if possible so it's easier for you to defend yourself or escape if need be.
  • Wherever possible, walk facing traffic so you are aware of any cars pulling up alongside you.
  • Stay Alert! Avoid talking on your mobile phone or listening to music on your head-phones, as this will distract you from your surroundings and prevent you from hearing any potential danger signs.
  • Move with purpose to project confidence that you know where you are going and aren't vulnerable.
  • Carry a personal attack alarm. Their primary purpose is to disorientate the attacker and may not attract any attention, so once you have set off the alarm, leave quickly and head to a busy area.
  • Have your house keys ready before you get to your front door and carry them on your person rather than in your bag.
  • If you're being followed, head towards a public place and text a friend to meet you or call the police. Shout and run if you feel that you are in danger.

When driving

  • When you park in the daylight, look at your surroundings and think what this will be like in the dark.
  • Have your car keys ready before you get to your car so you can get in without delay.  Once you get in your car, lock the doors immediately. You may choose to unlock your doors when you start driving, although it might be wise to wait to do this until you are out of a built up area.
  • If someone indicates there is an issue with your car, drive to a busy well-lit area before stopping.
  • If you do break down and would prefer to wait outside the vehicle, keep the passenger door open so you can get back in the car quickly and lock the doors if someone you don't recognise pulls up.

Public transport

  • If you're planning to use public transport, always check the times of the last train or buses and carry a timetable or download an app.
  • If a bus is empty, stay on the lower deck and sit near the driver or conductor.
  • On trains, avoid empty carriages; don't be afraid to move to another seat or carriage.
  • Always carry the telephone number of a trusted, licensed taxi or hackney company with you. Never take an unlicensed taxi, as these are unchecked and can potentially be very dangerous.