Personal safety

Drink & Drugs

  • Never accept drinks from strangers
  • If you leave a drink unattended, it’s safer to get a new one
  • If you need to leave your drink, make sure a good friend keeps an eye on it
  • Know how much you can drink sensibly ... and stick to your limit
  • Remember that alcohol lowers your guard and can seriously affect your ability to make safe judgements

Getting home

  • Always check the times of the last train, tube or buses.
  • If a bus is empty or it is after dark, it may be safer to stay on the lower deck and sit near the driver or conductor. On trains or on the underground, try to sit with other people and avoid empty carriages.
  • If you feel uneasy, don’t be afraid to move to another seat or carriage.
  • Always carry the telephone number of a trusted, licensed taxi or minicab company with you, or have a suitable booking app available on your phone.
  • Never take an unlicensed minicab, as these are unchecked, uninsured and can potentially be very dangerousMake sure you know the difference:

Yellow plates are displayed on the back of licensed private hire vehicles.  All private hire vehicles also have a large yellow sticker on the front doors with the Oxford City logo and the same unique licence number as the plate.  Remember that private hire vehicles must be pre-booked – it is illegal for the driver to take a passenger if flagged down and the vehicle insurance will be invalid.  If you do pre-book, it is worth making a note of the licence number from the yellow door sticker in case you need to report a complaint or incident.

White plates are displayed on the back of licensed hackney carriages.  In Oxford these are all wheelchair accessible and the majority are the London-style black cabs.

You can pick up a hackney carriage at a rank or flag it down, so it is even more important to make a note of the unique licence number; it is displayed in the rear quarter-windows and on the screen behind the driver, as well as on the rear of the vehicle.

Nights out

  • Try to plan ahead – make sure someone knows where you are going, who you are meeting and when you expect to return
  • Always plan how you are going to get home
  • If you are socialising in a group, watch out for each other and make sure everyone stays safe
  • If you arrange to meet someone new, make sure you meet in a public place or consider taking a friend along
  • Stay alert – avoid chatting on your mobile phone or listening to music on your headphones; these distractions could prevent you from noticing any potential danger signs
  • Try to keep one hand free and walk confidently and purposefully.
  • Get a personal safety alarm, keep it in an easily accessible place and carry it in your hand if you feel at risk.
  • Try to stick to busy streets and near other people. Avoid danger spots such as poorly-lit areas, deserted parks, or quiet alleyways and walk facing oncoming traffic to avoid kerb crawlers.
  • Remember that some short-cuts may be great during the day but have a reputation for being unsafe at night – find out from your fellow students where the known danger spots are
  • If you see someone else in trouble, think twice before trying to help. This may just aggravate the problem and you could end up hurt as well. It may be a lot more helpful to shout for help, call the police or generally make a lot of noise to attract attention.


Never disclose private information such as your phone number or address to others on online sites. An extra precaution is to also set up a separate email account that does not use your real name.

Consider your personal safety if you arrange to meet someone in person that you have met online. Make sure you meet in a populated public place and do not accept lifts from the person you are meeting. Tell a friend or family member where you are going, who you are meeting and at what time you expect to return home. 

Digital footprint

Be aware of your digital footprint.  If you use social networks be aware that much of the information becomes public by default and is easily searchable. This gives other people access to your photos, videos and comments.

It there is enough information available about you, you can be easily impersonated – potential employers have rejected applicants because of information discovered online.

If you have any concerns about your online presence remove anything from your public profile that is personal or private. Avoid inappropriate language, comments and jokes that may cause problems with others and change your privacy settings on your social networking sites so only friends may see your personal information.

Contact Security Services for help and advice with any queries or concerns you may have about your online safety and security.