Being safe and aware no matter where you travel is always a concern. It can seem daunting to be jetting off to a new country, a new city, with new people and new laws but the UK is generally a really safe place to live. We’ve put together a quick introduction to safety and security in the UK to help you, and your parents, feel a bit more at easy about your semester hundred miles away.
Call 999 not 911
In case of needing to contact the police, ambulance or fire department make sure to dial 999 instead of 911, otherwise you may end up calling a dead line. If you need to contact the police for non-urgent crimes, it’s recommended to call 101 instead. We hope you never need it, but just in case remember 999!
CCTV is the Police Public Space Surveillance Camera System! Quite a mouthful so you can see why everyone calls its CCTV instead. You’ll see signs posted almost everywhere that CCTV is in progress, meaning that the area you are in is being monitored for safety and security reasons. The entire city plus all public transport has CCTV to help protect everyone. While it may seem a bit odd at first, after a couple of weeks you’ll hardly notice the signs.
Know where your Embassy is
Knowing where the your Embassy is in every country you visit is vital. For major instances such as losing a passport, to minor ones such as your voting votes outside your home country, the embassy will be the place to go. For example, in London, the American Embassy is located at:
33 Nine Elms Ln, London SW11 7US, UK
If you have more questions or want more information, we recommend visiting their official website here.
Police and Pick Pockets
It can happen to anyone, you turn around to take a picture of a cool spot and boom, bag is gone! Or you’re riding on the crowded tube and as you get off you realize your Oyster card has been swiped from your back pocket. These things happen but being in the know and aware of your surroundings is important. We recommend for the ladies to use a cross body bag with a zipper and to always keep it in front of you. For the fellas, make sure to keep your phone and wallet in your front pockets. Back packs are great for traveling but can be easily zipped open if your not looking, check out this great list of backpacks for anti theft. For traveling, we even recommend to use a little lock on the main zipper to keep it closed and secure.
See It. Say It. Sorted.
This phrase is most commonly seen on public transport and refers to the idea of if you see something, say something to the British Transport Police and they’ll handle it. The BTP can be found at every single tube station in London and you will also find them at rail stations throughout the UK. Working together as a city to prevent crime and promote safety for everyone. The general rule in the UK is, if you see something suspicious report it. When it comes to safety the UK is one big community working together, so no one will think you’re panicking if you report something that might seem minor. Remember, See it. Say It. Sorted.
Be Aware, Be in the Know, Stay Safe
While it is always important to know emergency numbers or what to do should something happen, taking precautions to prevent dangerous situations comes first.
- Don’t carry your passport out with you unless necessary. Most places accept US ID or your student card.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash/notes with you. Again, most places accept cards or ATMs/Cashpoints will be close by
- Know where you are going, how to get there and how to get back. Remember public transport doesn’t always run 24/7 so knowing the best way home is key, especially if you are going to a new area. Click here to learn about the best tube and transport apps in the city.
- Remember, people drive on the left here, so always make sure to look both ways or us the cross walk signs on the streets before crossing. This can prevent accidents or impromptu trips to A&E.
- Be smart, when in doubt trust your gut or ask for help if something doesn’t seem right.
We hope this information and a few tips will help you and make you feel a bit safer before you travel to London.