Three Greater Manchester universities pioneer UK’s first city-wide safety and response initiative using innovative digital technology

Date: 07/10/2021
Author: University of Salford
Company: University of Salford

A pioneering alliance between three Greater Manchester universities using SafeZone technology from CriticalArc, enables security teams to provide faster response and assistance to their students and staff.

The  University of Manchester, the University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University, working with CriticalArc, have created the Manchester SafeZone Alliance. A global first, the initiative enables the three security control rooms to extend the footprint of 24/7 support beyond their campus boundaries.

The partnership builds on Manchester’s and Salford’s reputations as safe and welcoming cities for students from across the UK and a favourite destination for international students.

The three individual universities have already deployed SafeZone within their own institutions. Now, with the formation of the Manchester SafeZone Alliance, security staff from each campus will provide reciprocal support to each other’s staff and students.

In the event of an emergency - including an accident, crime, or medical incident - help is available to SafeZone users at the press of a button. Using the SafeZone app on their phone, students and staff are directly connected to the appropriate safety and security team or first responder.

For example, if a University of Manchester student is walking home alone late at night through the Manchester Metropolitan University campus, that individual will have the peace of mind that dedicated university first responder teams are instantly accessible at the tap of a button via SafeZone, confirming who needs assistance, their precise location, and the type of incident. The nearest first responders will be notified and dispatched to the scene to provide an efficient response. Only when an individual calls for help, is the identity and location of that person shared with the university’s security team.

“Student and staff wellbeing is always the top priority for all three universities and we are pleased to put in place a technology solution that furthers this shared aim. Manchester and Salford have a long-standing reputation for being inclusive and welcoming destinations for students from around the world.” said Dr Sam Grogan, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience at University of Salford on behalf of the universities associated with the Manchester SafeZone Alliance group. “This pioneering cross-city initiative serves to enhance the safety and wellbeing of our university community.”

Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Managing Director of CriticalArc, said the introduction of the first SafeZone Alliance furthered CriticalArc’s strategic objective to help customers extend safety and security across their wider communities to enhance the protection of millions of SafeZone users.

“We are delighted to be working with the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford on this ground-breaking project to give added reassurance for thousands of students and staff. The SafeZone Alliance sets these Greater Manchester universities apart and demonstrates their commitment to the wellbeing of students and staff, beyond traditional, individual campus boundaries.  We believe this alliance will prove to be a catalyst for game-changing cooperation between universities around the world.”