What is personal safety?
Personal safety includes anything that helps to protect you from harm. Violent attacks like mugging and carjacking are rare, but by remembering some basic precautions, staying alert to your surroundings and using common sense, you can greatly reduce your chance of being attacked.
Support and advice
On the street
- If you think you're being followed, head for a busy, a well lit place and call the police. Stay away from parks, alleyways and waste ground. If you are attacked, scream and make as much noise as you can.
- If your bag is snatched let it go. Your safety is more important than possessions.
- Avoid using cashpoint machines when you've been drinking
- Try to avoid confrontation. Walk or run away from a potential attack, make a loud noise and ask for help. But if you have to free yourself, use only as much force as you need to get yourself out of danger.
- Stay safe on a night out- plan your journey home before you leave for the night- get a taxi or a lift with a non-drinker
In pubs and clubs
- You're far more vulnerable when you're drunk, especially if you're on your own. Let someone know where you're going and when you'll be back.
- Watch your drink at all times. If it has been left unattended at anytime, don't drink it.
- Keep valuables like computers, phones and MP3 players out of plain sight as much as is possible
Cycling or jogging
- Stay on well-lit roads and paths. You're safer when lots of other people can see you. Wear bright, reflective clothing and make sure your lights work. Flashing lights are better than steady ones.
- If you use a personal stereo, keep the volume low enough to hear traffic and shouted warnings.
- If an unexpected visitors calls at your home, always check their identification or do not let them in.
- Never give bank or credit card details to someone who contacts you unexpectedly, even in person.
- Never give your address, phone number or photograph to someone you only know through the Internet.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- If you're involved in a traffic accident and you feel suspicious about what happened, stay locked in your car and call the police, or drive to a police or petrol station.
- Keep all the doors locked, including the boot or tailgate, and put valuables out of sight.
How to report threats and attacks
If you have been attacked, once you are safe call 999. While your memory is fresh, write down as much detail as you can about the attacker and what happened. Descriptions of bodies and faces are better than details of clothes.
On the road, to report a danger or threat to yourself or other drivers dial 999 as soon as it's safe to do so. If you are still at the scene, stay in your car. Write down the registration number, make and colour of any suspicious vehicle, and note who is driving it.
For everything else call 101.
- Identify your valuables with a security identification system like UV or engraved marking, also smart water is a very good tool, and register portable items like phones and laptops on the National Mobile Property Register. If your property is stolen and then recovered by police anywhere in the country, NMPR registration will greatly increase you chances of getting it back. Click here to visit the NMPR site.
- Don't use cash machines if you see people hanging around them, or if the card slot looks unusual. Don't withdraw more than you need or count the money in public place.
- Keep your bag close to your body and closed.
- You're particularly vulnerable while texting or making calls. Stay aware of what's going on around you.
- Keep your keys in your pocket, away from anything with your address on it. If you're carrying a large amount of cash keep it separate from your everyday money.
- When driving around town, never open your windows wide enough for anyone to reach in.
- If someone flags you down but your way ahead looks clear, drive on. Once it's safe to stop, call the police. When stopped in traffic, leave enough space in front to let you pull out and drive away if you have to.
- If someone you're not sure about tells you there's a fault with your car, be polite but don't get out to check until you're in a safe place.
- If you think you're being followed, draw attention to your car by flashing you lights and sounding your horn, and drive to a busy place where you will be safe.
- If attacked, you can punch, kick or bite your attacker or use a perfume spray, walking stick or umbrella to fight them off and get away. Go for the sensitive parts of your attacker's body. Use as much force as you need to get out of danger, but no more.
- Anyone from a utility company should show you their ID. If you're uncertain, keep them waiting while you ring their company to check.
- Shred any documents with personal or financial details on them, and report the loss of bank cards or passports immediately. Always check your statements and report any transactions you don't recognise.
- If you think someone may be trying to 'groom' you or a member of your family through the internet, call us on 101. Keep contact with the other person open and keep any emails they send, but never give them personal information or arrange to meet them.