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Durham City Safety Group: actions and achievements


In February 2016 a new UK Drowning Prevention Strategy, supported by the Government, was launched which highlighted the work carried out by Durham City Safety Group.

You can read it at National Water Safety Forum - UK national drowning prevention strategy.

Lit night time routes

The group produced a map showing lit routes which people are advised to take when walking in Durham City after dark.

The map is on posters which are on display in licensed premises and university and council buildings across the city and on various websites.

It's available to download below, from the QR code on the posters and through a 'student app' which has recently been developed.

Further actions

  • Additional fencing and upgraded public rescue equipment put in beside five weirs in Durham City.
  • Work carried out with licensees to improve guardianship arrangements, in order to prevent people who are vulnerable due to alcohol consumption being left to walk home alone.

This involved:

  • Responsible alcohol retail training delivered to bar staff.
  • Bespoke training delivered to owners/managers of licensed premises on law, guardianship arrangements and responsible alcohol retailing.
  • The safe city watch radio scheme, which was already in operation in the city, was also extended to improve communication between door supervisors, volunteers and university security.

Durham University and Durham Students' Union

  • A student alcohol awareness and use policy has been developed and implemented across the university.
  • Working with the students' union, the university has established and funded an alcohol impact project.
  • The Get Home Safe Scheme was set up to help students get a taxi home if they have run out of money.
  • The Sexual Violence Task Force was set up and produced recommendations to enhance the support of student victims and to engender a cultural change through education and training.
  • The students' union developed the peer led Social Norms awareness raising campaign to educate students about staying safe and personal wellbeing.
  • The university worked with Durham Constabulary to establish The Durham City Partnership, a multi-agency working group to review student safety issues.

Emergency services

  • Durham Constabulary has added Balcon Emergency Lifeline (BELL) throw lines to eighty of its emergency vehicles which will enable more responsive, effective and safer river rescues.
  • County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service has hosted a number of water safety events including projecting water safety videos onto Framwellgate Bridge while delivering displays in the river below.
  • Both police and Durham County Council take robust action where irresponsible management of licensed premises, including drink promotions and serving people who are already intoxicated, is identified.

Work with other organisations

The group has worked with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, promoting its Respect the Water campaign by handing out materials to riverside pubs. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of waterways after the consumption of alcohol.

The group has worked with Durham Street Lights, a volunteer group which patrols the city centre on a Saturday evening assisting vulnerable people.  A safe haven location was piloted for people who were considered vulnerable due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Training and kit, including weatherproof clothing and radios, have been provided to a number of volunteer groups. Group members have accompanied them on a series of night time walkabouts.

The group supported licensed premises in the city when they introduced a breathalyser scheme as a three month pilot.

In partnership with

  • Keeping Durham City safe
Contact us
Customer Services
03000 26 0000
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ
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