La Trobe Safety Patrol

La Trobe University is the first university in Australia to launch Safety Patrol, a program where students help look after each other on campus.

Safety FirstModelled, in part, on the Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the UK, Safety Patrol consists of students who help their peers living on campus feel safe by patrolling the University and providing advice. 40 student leaders are involved in Safety Patrol. 

Safety Patrol comprises paid student volunteers from La Trobe’s Glenn, Menzies and Chisholm residential colleges in Bundoora. The students work in shifts during busy periods at the University, such as bar nights and other evenings when there are significant numbers of students moving around the campus. They provide a high visibility presence and identify and help manage safety-related risks around the campus.

‘Essentially, our purpose is to patrol the grounds of the undergraduate colleges as well as the rest of the campus on occasion,’ explains Safety Patrol participant and student leader, Thomas Trotman.

‘We identify safety hazards within the residences and provide a service whereby residents are supervised on event nights.

‘Typically, these are Tuesday and Thursday evenings, during bar nights, and other event nights like footy club functions where resident safety is of higher concern than usual,’ said Mr Trotman.

Dr Carl Gibson, Director of Risk Management at La Trobe University says Safety Patrol was introduced following an independent review looking at improving safety on campus.

‘We wanted to look at where we could improve and have a better integrated approach to safety for students living on campus. The population on campus consists of young adults in the 18 and 24 age bracket’.

‘We constantly strive to provide the high levels of safety on our campuses, and there are far less problems with student behaviour compared to similar age cohorts in the general community’.  ‘However, we have to acknowledge that this age group is at higher risk than the general population and it is important that we continue to improve awareness and encourage safe behaviours.  The Safety Patrol, by giving students more ownership for their own safety, is proving to be an important contributor to these aims’. said Dr Gibson.

Dr Gibson said that Safety Patrol supports the many student leadership and supervisory programs in place across the Division of Residential Services. He said such programs demonstrate the University’s commitment to safety, security and ultimately the wellbeing and happiness of the La Trobe community. The scheme has been so successful it has now been introduced into University’s second largest campus in Bendigo.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson will host a BBQ at the Melbourne campus to thank staff and student health and safetyvolunteers and celebrate Work Safe Week 2011 (17-27 October). The event will take place in the Odeon Room from 12 – 2pm on 26 October.

Video on the Safety Patrol can also be found here:


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