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Guidelines for University security coordinators

Introduction - Assessing Risk

The University is required to identify, assess and minimise risks to its people, physical assets, and operations. Crime and breaches of security that can lead to criminal acts are amongst those risks and through a developing security strategy the University maintains a strong commitment towards providing a safe and secure environment for people to live, work and study.

While everyone - members of staff, students and visitors - has a part to play, the role of the security coordinator is particularly important. The following guidance is provided to help coordinators take that role forward.

Reducing Opportunities for Crime

The University is no different from any other large public area. Crime does occur and most often involves the "opportunist" theft of personal property from unlocked or unattended offices, rooms in halls of residence, libraries and lecture theatres. Equally, insecure buildings providing access to valuable equipment attract criminals who are quick to exploit weaknesses in or the absence of security measures with potentially devastating effects on the University's ability to deliver its core business.

Increased awareness is a significant factor in crime reduction and within buildings, schools and departments, coordinators can achieve a great deal by stimulating interest in and activity around improved security. By ensuring that security, like safety, is non-negotiable opportunities for crime can be substantially reduced. Encouraging a secure and safe culture benefits everyone within the University community.

Further information on crime reduction or local crimes can be obtained through the Fife Constabulary website and on other dedicated sites including BBC's Crimewatch crime prevention tips pages.

The Security Coordinator's Role

The University security manager is accountable for the development and delivery of the University's security programme and provides a link between coordinators, other departments, and the police. The security manager will circulate information on crime, crime trends, and other security risks to ensure that coordinators are informed and aware. The role of the security coordinator is to:

  • Ensure that information on security and personal safety is passed on so increasing awareness amongst staff and students.
  • Inform the security manager of any concerns about security or personal safety issues within the building, school or department.
  • Report incidents and breaches of security, and
  • Ensure that University security policies and localised procedures relating to particular buildings or activities are being followed.

It is important to ensure that members of staff/students are aware of the identity of the coordinator is and that a security coordinator or deputy is always available during term and vacation.

The security manager can be contacted

  • Through the University Estates Office on extension (46) 3967
  • By e-mail on
  • By mobile telephone on 07931 961432

More detailed guidance on specific areas of responsibility for security coordinators is provided in the following sections.

Incident Reporting

Security related issues should be reported without delay using the Incident Reporting System to enable the University to provide an appropriate response and identify recurring problems and trends. Serious incidents should be reported to the emergency services immediately.

The system classifies incidents into two types - RED for serious incidents against people or property that may require the implementation of contingency plans and other actions, and BLUE for less serious incidents such as vandalism. Any member of staff or student can access incident reports.

Further information on this system can be obtained through the Estates Support Services website. It is stressed that in serious incidents the first duty of the person reporting is to contact the appropriate emergency service(s).

Security Assessments

As part of a continuous improvement programme, the security manager will carry out a risk assessment on each of the University's buildings. Changes in use of particular buildings or the addition of vulnerable or valuable equipment can alter that assessment and coordinators should notify the security manager of anything that may affect the level of risk. Assessments may be carried out in conjunction with police crime reduction officers.

The security manager should also be contacted should general or specific advice be required on buildings or personal safety matters.

Buildings Security

Most buildings have no permanent janitor and responsibility for securing rooms and buildings rests within departments or, as agreed, with building users. Coordinators can help by ensuring that the following measures are in place within their buildings:

  • Staff should know who is responsible for securing a building at the end of the working day and this procedure must include all common and tutorial rooms.
  • Members of staff should ensure that doors and windows in their offices are secured
  • Within buildings, people should be alert and avoid opportunities for crime such as leaving unattended personal valuables, and leaving offices unlocked when unoccupied
  • Members of staff and students should be encouraged to wear University identification badges
  • Staff should be encouraged to watch for unfamiliar or unauthorised persons in buildings - they should be asked why they are there and if there are concerns about their presence, the security manager and if necessary the police should be contacted without delay.
  • Members of staff should not put themselves at risk but should note descriptions and pass them on
  • Lighting, lock or other defects that might compromise the security of buildings should be reported to Estates without delay.

Bomb Threats

From time to time, threats are received specific to particular buildings, activities or in general terms. Proper management of the receipt and early stages of a threat is essential and guidance is provided on the Bomb threats page. It is essential that all members of staff are aware of the threat procedures and it is a specific responsibility of coordinators to ensure this. Coordinators are therefore responsible for:

  • Ensuring that they and their deputies know the procedures
  • Ensuring that members of staff know what to do in the event of a threat

The security manager will ensure that all telephones in the University are tagged with summarised procedures on action to be taken in the event of a threat.


Some activities within the University may attract external protests. Any indications that protestors may be planning to target a building or the University in general should be communicated without delay to the security manager and the deputy principal. Similarly, any information being passed to the University from an external source will be communicated to the department concerned so that appropriate contingency plans, including liaison with the police, can be made.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans

Departmental and school contingency plans to ensure business continuity in the event of a major incident or disruption should include an assessment of security and safety risks. The security manager can provide assistance in risk assessments.

Working Abroad

Members of staff or students working overseas may incur risks and security coordinators should encourage them to seek appropriate advice or guidance. Threat assessments specific to particular countries are available through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and can be accessed through Those travelling abroad on work related activities should also follow any Universities policies or procedures.

Student Death

Deaths may occur in unexpected circumstances and in accordance with Scottish law, all sudden or suspicious deaths must be investigated by the police and reported to the Procurator Fiscal who may hold a subsequent inquiry. The preservation of evidence at the scene of a death is critically important, even when suspicious circumstances are not apparent, and security coordinators are asked to take a lead role in securing the locus of death to prevent destruction or removal of evidence.

Deaths may also have a substantial emotional impact on fellow students and members of staff and to assist colleagues during the sensitive, early stages following such occurrences, the University Chaplain has produced a document entitled "When a Student Dies". Security Coordinators are asked to ensure that this document is available within their school/department/residence and easily accessible by members of staff.







Stewart Davidson
Security Manager
October 2004

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