Police project aims to keep students safe and appy

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Tech-savvy students from Huddersfield have joined forces with West Yorkshire Police and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner to design a new app which aims to keep fellow students safe as they start the new academic year.

Under the unique venture, students from Huddersfield University used a £10,000 grant from West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, in conjunction with Kirklees Community Safety Partnership, to create the new app called ‘appy student’.

The joint project, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, is free to download and is available for iOS and Android-based smart phones and tablets.

While completing games based around ‘university life’ and ensuring the central student character stays safe, the app also includes links to safety advice from West Yorkshire Police, Kirklees Council and Huddersfield University.

As an extra incentive for students to use the app the first person to complete the game will win an Apple ipad.

The launch of the new app forms part of West Yorkshire Police’s commitment to work with new and returning students across the county as the new academic year begins.

As well as promoting safety advice at freshers’ weeks, officers are also encouraging students to become part-time, professional police officers by joining West Yorkshire Police as Special Constables.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I am pleased that I have been able to help fund this educational and informative app which aims to keep fellow students safe as they start the new academic year.

“Policing and helping keep people safe with crime prevention advice comes in many forms and development of apps like this form part of that, increasingly the use of social media and new technology will be key to providing instant and useful community safety advice and information.

“This project demonstrates how West Yorkshire is leading the way in using mobile technology to ensure students receive advice on keeping safe at university.”

Police Constable Laura Jackson, who helped devise the project and works with Huddersfield University as the Student Safety Officer, said: ‘‘The result of the students hard and innovative work is a fantastic final product that’s as useful as it is entertaining.

‘‘We’re always looking for new ways to engage with people and the app is a great tool for reminding students, many of them living away from home for the first time, of the simple things we can all do to keep ourselves and our property safe.

‘‘The only problem is I can’t stop playing the game myself.’’

Director of Student Services at Huddersfield University Paul Wilcock said: ‘‘I am pleased this app is being introduced and particularly because it was developed by my colleagues in Canalside Studios. I hope it will help students to have a greater awareness of some of aspects of their personal safety.’’