Police are reiterating safety advice for school pupils walking to and from school after a number of recent incidents.
Over the past two days police have received several reports of school pupils being approached.
Richard Denton, schools coordinator for Bedfordshire Police, said: “Occasionally we do receive reports of school children being approached by strangers.
“We’d encourage parents and guardians to discuss personal safety with their children and make sure they understand the importance of not speaking to strangers.
“Simple advice to follow includes avoiding walking alone if possible, stick to busy, well-lit streets, and be alert – avoid wearing headphones as this can distract from your surroundings.”
Reassurance patrols are being carried out by officers in Luton today following reports of pupils being approached in the vicinity of Samuel Whitbread in Shefford Luton Sixth Form.
Inspector Nick Masters said: “I’d like to reassure the community that incidents such as this remain rare, and we have increased our uniformed presence in the area.
“We’d also ask the public not to speculate or spread rumours about such incidents as these can hinder our investigations. Instead we’d ask anyone with genuine information or concerns to contact police directly on 101.”
Personal safety advice for school pupils includes:
• If possible, walk with a friend or group of friends.
• Stay alert - keep an eye on everything that is happening around you.
• Avoid wearing earphones or chatting on your mobile phone, as this will distract you from your surroundings and you may not see or hear trouble approaching.
• Trust your instincts – if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, don’t ignore it, act upon it.
• Take the route you know best and stick to busy, well-lit streets.
• Think about your route home. Where would be a safe place to go if something went wrong? Safe places might be busy places like shops or garages, friends’ houses or a police station.
• If using public transport always wait for a bus or train in a well-lit place and near other people if possible.
• Have your travel pass/correct change ready, so that your purse or wallet stays out of sight.
• If in danger, always give away your bag, purse or wallet rather than fighting to keep it. Your things can be replaced.
• Your voice can be one of your best forms of defence. Don’t be embarrassed to make as much noise as possible to attract attention.
• If you get in trouble on a bus or train you can press the alarm. Train platforms have telephones situated at the Help Points – these will connect you immediately to the British Transport Police or station staff.
• You could also phone 999. The operator will ask for name, address, emergency you require – give the information as clearly as you can and ask for the police.
Make sure your phone and other valuables are security marked and registered on http://www.immobilise.com. You may also wish to consider downloading a tracking application for phones and computers. These applications can be traced should your phone be stolen and may help the police track down offenders so your property can be returned.