Staying safe in Edinburgh
As you settle into university life, it is important to keep an awareness and recognise how to keep safe, secure and where to go for further information, should you require it.
Your safety on campus and online is important to us.
Edinburgh is a safe city with a low crime rate, but it is still important that you pay attention to your personal safety. You should be aware of the laws in the UK and Scotland while you are living here.
Emergency services - call 999
If you need to call the emergency services, including police, fire brigade, and ambulance, call 999.
Emergency services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Police - call 101, anywhere in Scotland
Fire - in Edinburgh, call 0131 228 2401
NHS 24 - call 111, anywhere in Scotland
How to stay safe
- Keep your bank cards safe and separate from your pin numbers
- Keep your windows and doors closed and locked when you go out, even if you will only be out for a short time
- Keep your curtains or blinds closed at night
- Keep your valuables out of sight of windows
- Make a list of your belongings, including the make, model and serial numbers
- Take photographs of your valuables - they may be needed for insurance purposes if anything is damaged or stolen
- Always ask unknown visitors to your door for identification (ID) before allowing them to enter your home - anyone from the University, City Council, or gas and electric companies will be able to show you their ID
- Make sure there is a smoke alarm in your accommodation and test it regularly
- Beware of people following directly behind you to gain access to buildings, especially in University accommodation.
- Take extra care of your personal belongings.
- Do not leave valuables like mobile phones and laptops unattended in the Library or bikes unlocked anywhere.
- Be vigilant when using your phone in public spaces – phones are among the most stolen items.
- Planning your night out to include charging your phone before leaving, being careful about how much alcohol to consume and knowing your way home.
- Don't walk home alone at night - plan your journey in advance, and try to stay with friends
- Tell a friend where you are going, and when to expect you back - if your plans change, let them know
- If you are left on your own, stay in well-lit areas with other people around you
- If you are in a bar or nightclub, don’t leave your drink unattended
- Keep your money secure and out of sight
- Be aware of your surroundings
Watch our short 'How to...' videos on safety and security
These short videos will provide advice on how to avoid frauds and scams, how to protect your valuables and your bicycle if you have one.
- Video: Safety & Security Playlist - 'How to...' Sessions 2023
- Part of the 'How to...' online sessions 2023, this playlist includes a range of videos to help new students stay safe and secure at the University of Edinburgh.
Who to contact if you ever need assistance:
In case of an emergency, if you have lost your wallet or find yourself stranded, Student Association has partnered up with Central Taxis to provide you with the option of paying back your fare at a later date meaning there’s no need to worry, even if you’ve got no cash or cards on you
The University Security team is always available on campus for advice or assistance and are easily recognisable by their red jackets.
Some laws in the UK and Scotland are important to remember:
- The legal age to drink alcohol is 18
- The legal age to buy cigarettes and tobacco is 18
- You cannot smoke in public places indoors, including bars, offices and any University building
- You must not carry illegal drugs or substances with you, or supply illegal substances to others
- It is illegal to carry any sort of weapon, including knives and pepper spray
Driving in the UK
If you plan to drive in the UK you should know the rules of the road. If you do not obey the rules you can face fines and prosecution.
- You must hold a full valid driving licence to drive in the UK
- You must be insured to drive in the UK
- Your car must have valid road tax
- In the UK, cars drive on the left-hand side and overtake on the right
- You must not drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- You must adhere strictly to speed limits (normally 20 miles per hour in cities)
- You must not use your mobile phone when driving