personal safety

Personal Safety


St Andrews is a small town with a lot of students living in it, but that doesn’t mean that nothing bad ever happens here. It’s very important to look after yourself and your friends just as you would in a big city.


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Locking up

The perception of small-town safety that many students have can cause them to be a bit lax about protecting their homes and property, and there have been many thefts over the years which have taken advantage of this fact. It may sound self-explanatory, but it is important to lock your doors, whether you live in halls or in a private flat. Don’t leave your belongings unattended at the library or cafes either. Many people do this, but it’s a risk!

It’s far better to be cautious than risk losing your laptop, bike, or other valuable items. You definitely don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way!




The top three tips for bikes in St Andrews:

  1. Buy a good lock to prevent bike theft in town. A D-lock is best so it can’t be broken as easily.
  2. Don’t ride your bike on the pavement or sidewalks – it’s illegal!
  3. You also need to have bike lights if you are going to use your bike at night. The University shop sells these to students at cost price.



Nights out

On the same theme, the feeling of safety that students have about the town can mean that they don’t treat nights out with the same caution as they would in an unfamiliar place or big city, especially when alcohol is involved.

Things to keep in mind for a safe night out:

  • Eat before you go out and try to alternate a soft drink or water with every alcoholic drink.
  • Keep your wits about you, and if you drink, be careful with the amount of alcohol that you consume.
  • 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 again.
  • Go out with a group, stay with your friends, and look out for one another to make sure you all get home safely.
  • Take your phone with you and make sure it's charged.
  • Don’t have sexual intercourse with anyone who is unable to give their consent because they are too drunk or under the influence of drugs. In Scots Law this is rape.
  • Don't leave your drink unattended.
  • More information from Police Scotland's "party safe" page.

Drink spiking can happen at any time and in any company. There is no such thing as being completely safe. Drink spiking can be colourless, odorless and undetectable. If you feel bad unexpectedly, don't just dismiss it as being drunk really quickly, and make sure that you are safe. Remember it can happen to people of any gender. Again, never leave a drink unattended. There are staff in the Students’ Association who will keep an eye on your beverage if you need to go into the bathroom 

StAnd Together runs bystander intervention training as part of their "Got Consent?" campaign. This short, discussion-based workshop teaches students about consent and how to keep themselves and one another safe on nights out. It includes tips on how to intervene safely if you see a situation that could turn into a sexual assault. Send an email to dowell@ to inquire about upcoming workshops and learn how to get involved.




St Andrews has some of the prettiest coastline in Scotland, but between the water and the town are very steep cliffs. Never try to climb or descend them. Avoid going near them at all, especially at night. There are generally plenty of high fences around public places, but students have still lost their lives in the past from falls from the cliffs.



Fire safety

If you’re in rented accommodation, make sure you have working fire alarms – they’re a legal requirement. Also, never play with fire safety equipment.  It’s not clever, and the University has a zero tolerance policy on it and could get you thrown out of halls.  If you’re in private accommodation, make sure you have a working smoke alarm and, if you have a gas supply, a carbon monoxide detector. If you don’t, call us at 0133446 2700.