South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner and the alcohol education charity Drinkaware have come together with student unions’ in South Wales to launch a new scheme to safeguard students and raise awareness of sexual harassment within the night time economy.

Specially trained staff, known as Drinkaware Crew, will work in a number of student venues across South Wales to support customers who are vulnerable as a result of drinking too much and prevent them from potentially becoming victims of crime.

Working in pairs, the club crew will have a presence in the venue throughout the night, talking to customers at the start of the evening when a queue is forming, checking high risk areas, such as the toilets and stairwells and ensuring that people leave safely when the venue closes.

The partnership with Drinkaware marks the start of a proactive and positive response to a series of sexual assaults which took place in Cardiff City Centre during the Fresher’s period last year. Following the assaults, the Commissioner called summit with universities, student unions and councils in Cardiff and Swansea. All partners made a commitment to working collaboratively to ensure that South Wales remains a safe place for residents, students and visitors alike.

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael said:

“South Wales is a tremendous place for students, providing a positive experience of academic study and the start of adult life for so many who flock to our area. That’s a matter of great pride, and it’s crucial that we make sure that everyone can be safe and confident on the streets, in their homes and in the night-time economy. This new scheme, borne out of the South Wales Violence Reduction Initiative, brings together organisations to address the safety of our student population and enable people to enjoy a night our without being at risk of harm, especially in our two great cities of Cardiff and Swansea.

“A key priority within my Police and Crime Reduction Plan is to keep people safe and to protect vulnerable people. This scheme will directly help to ensure that students are safe throughout their time in South Wales. Students are the solution, not the problem, and working with students is key, valuing student volunteers and enabling peer to peer support to be the norm. They Drinkaware Crew will be deployed at key locations to help other students who may be vulnerable.

“The crew will be an integral part of the team who safeguard people at night time economy venues on designated student nights, fully supported by blue light emergency services.”

Chief Executive of Drinkaware, Elaine Hindal said:

“We are delighted to bring our Drinkaware Crew to South Wales. An Initial regional pilot has shown that the crew have been effective in supporting vulnerable customers who have drunk too much, potentially preventing those becoming victims of crime, and as a result we’re now rolling out the scheme to more venues across the UK.

“Venue managers also believe that the Drinkaware crew have allowed other staff to focus on their jobs and ensure the safety and wellbeing of customers.

“Many customers have reported feeling safer as a result of the presence of the Drinkaware crew and we hope to see the same success in South Wales.”

South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable, Richard Lewis, said:

“Working together with the Police and Crime Commissioner, South Wales Police has been able to deliver campaigns aimed at raising awareness and reducing vulnerability within the nigh time economy.

“The Know the Score campaign launched in January 2015 has educated the public on the law surrounding alcohol.

“This new partnership between Drinkaware, universities and student unions’ will allow for students to assist us in safeguarding students within the night economy. The scheme will ensure that those that become vulnerable are given the support that they need.

“The ‘Drinkaware Crew’ will join existing support already deployed who work to keep people safe within the night-time economy.”