Worcester is a safer, more vibrant place to live, thanks, in part, to the University of Worcester, according to the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police.
Anthony Bangham said having a student community had had a positive impact on the City in terms of policing, playing its part in making it a safer place.
“It does change the characteristics of a city,” he said. “I think it becomes a safer place. It helps reduce crime. Yes, there are some challenges, but it brings more positives and becomes a better place to live.”
The Chief Constable visited the University and was given a tour that included the University of Worcester Arena, The Hive, the Forensic House and Law School, and met with University Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green.
Chief Constable Bangham, who grew up in Worcestershire, highlighted the impact the University has had on Worcester’s character.
“It’s moved from peripheral to now I would describe it as a full university city,” he said.
“The buildings I knew and grew up around were not university buildings whereas now everywhere you look it’s part of the fabric of the City. That’s a change I have seen and for the better.”
He was particularly impressed by the practical nature of many of the facilities, including the mock law court.
“That’s very important,” he said. “It’s consistent with our type of training where we take people from the academic and theoretical to the practical application; how to apply what they have learned. It’s good that a university is recognising that there has to be a transformation from the theoretical to the reality.”
He added: “I think Worcester has traditionally been known as a bit of a sleepier area and now it’s quite a vibrant city. I think that’s what a university can do for a city.”
Chief Constable Bangham also praised the innovative partnership approach between the University and the police, which sees the University fund two PCSOs who work on campus and within the University neighbourhoods.
“Having PCSOs here on a daily basis at the heart of the university community means that they are a visible and accessible presence.
“I believe this goes a long way to making people feel reassured and I believe it does reduce the opportunities for crime.
“I think the University plays its part in making Worcester a safe city.”