Safety on and off campus

Whether you're in London or elsewhere in the UK, on this page you can find tips on how to keep yourself as safe as possible.

Emergency UCL Security support

Call +44 (0)20 7679 2222 or extension 222 from a UCL landline.

Please call this number if you witness or experience a crime or security concern on campus.

Non-emergency UCL Security support

Call +44 (​​​​​​0)20 7679 2108 or extension 32108 from a UCL landline.

Please call this number to speak to the Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Adviser for follow-up support from UCL if you have witnessed or experienced a crime, or for all other security enquiries.

Emergency services

If you witness or experience an emergency, such as a crime, a fire, a serious accident or a medical emergency, you should phone the numbers below.

  • Emergency services - call 999 and ask for the appropriate service (police, ambulance, fire brigade).
  • Police non-emergency number - call 101. This number can be used to report crimes that do not need an emergency response, such as a bike theft.
  • NHS non-emergency number - call 111 or use the 111 Online service. This number can be used if you experience a medical problem that you do not feel is an emergency, or if you are unsure where to access the correct health care support. 

On this page:

Support for those affected by harassment, sexual misconduct and violence, or hate crime

UCL has a zero tolerance approach to all bullying, harassment, sexual misconduct and hate crime. All members of the UCL community and wider society have a right to feel safe.

If you think you’re being bullied, harassed or the target of sexual misconduct or hate crime, remember that it’s never your fault. UCL provides a wide range of support services and information about how you can protect yourself and support others:

  • If you feel unsafe and are on campus, please call Security, who will liaise with emergency services if you are on campus, on 020 7679 2108 or extension 32108, or dial 222 in an emergency.
  • Speak to one of our Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisers in a same-day appointment, which can be booked through the askUCL student enquiries system. Our Advisers will have a supportive conversation with you, will listen to any issues you may be experiencing or have experienced in the past, and will help you access support if needed for any wellbeing matters affecting your ability to study.
    Find out more about seeing an adviser.
  • Request to speak with an advisor on Report + Support. An advisor can: talk through the University's procedures, inform you on how to make a complaint and let you know what support is available, in confidence.
  • Learn more about what’s meant by sexual consent and ending sexual violence at UCL. Complete I Heart Consent interactive online training.
  • Report a hate crime confidentially through the Students’ Union UCL

Safety and security on campus

There are a few security issues it is good to be aware of while you are on campus or in the area near UCL.

UCL has security cover 24/7. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact UCL Security, who are located on the ground floor of Foster Court on Malet Place, opposite the Petrie Museum. You can also reach the Security team by calling +44 (​​​​​​0)20 7679 2108 (extension 32108 from a UCL landline) for a non-emergency or +44 (0)20 7679 2222 (extension 222) for an emergency.

For more information on staying safe at UCL, visit the UCL Security website.


Remember to always carry your ID with you at all times and do not give it to anyone else.

Be aware of tailgating. If you feel that a person is following you in order to access an area where you believe they should not be, challenge them - as long as you feel comfortable and safe to do so. Alternatively you can contact UCL Security.

Phone snatchers

A crime which has recently seen an increase in the Bloomsbury area and in London in general is phone snatching by individuals on mopeds and bikes.

The police have done a lot of work to tackle offenders on mopeds and as a result reported incidents have dropped. However, this does still occur and there have also been a few incidents of offenders on bikes.

To avoid being a victim of phone theft, always be aware of your surroundings when using your phone. Be vigilant, and look out for bikes and mopeds, especially if they are on the pavement. 

Avoid taking your phone out when you leave big transport hubs, and make sure it is on lock so that no one can access it straight away. 

Read more about protecting your phone against theft on the Metropolitan Police website.

Laptop and valuables

Never leave your personal items unattended in public places, including in UCL campus buildings such as libraries and refectories. 

For example, if you are studying in the library and you need to leave your study space, take your laptop with you or if you are with a friend ask them to keep an eye on your things. Laptops, mobile phones, wallets, bags or any other valuable items may attract an opportunistic thief.

Bike security

When parking your bike on the street, it is generally best to use cycle parking stands. Avoid using street furniture, as your bike may then be removed by local authorities. 

When parking your bicycle on UCL property, please ensure that you do not attach your bike to railings, pathways or stairways. Please also ensure that you do not park your bike next to or blocking a fire exit. If you do so, this may result in your bicycle being removed by UCL Security.

If you find you have any issues with bicycle thefts on campus, please contact the UCL Security team by calling +44 (​​​​​​0)20 7679 2108 (extension 32108 from a UCL landline) for a non-emergency.

Read more about bike security on the UCL Security website. 

Staying safe off campus

Keep your valuables safe

In London and the UK, thieves frequently operate at tube and train stations, at cash machines, in car parks, around bus stations and in crowded areas, especially during rush hour. 

When you are out and about, do not leave your bags unattended anywhere. As well as attracting pickpockets, you could also create a security alert.

In restaurants, bars or theatres, keep your bags where you can see them, not on the floor or over the back of your chair. In crowded areas, such as a bus or Underground train, try wearing them in front of you, not over your shoulder.

Do not be distracted by your surroundings, and be aware that criminals may try to divert your attention.

Withdrawing cash

Do not keep all your valuables in one place and do not carry large amounts of cash around with you.

If you're an international student and need funds for your arrival, you may instead wish to look into obtaining a pre-paid cash card. This allows you to load money on to it and you use it in a similar way to a debit card.

Read more information on pre-paid cards on the Money Advice Service webpages.

When withdrawing cash from an ATM, cover the keyboard to make sure that others do not see your PIN. If possible, try to use cash machines during the daytime.

Read more advice on ATM security on the Metropolitan Police website.

Register your pocket electronics (phone, iPad etc.) for free on the Immobilise website. This way, when police officers stop and search suspected thieves, they can check the serial number on the Immobilise database and track you as the owner, so that you can be reunited with your property.

To register your valuables, visit the Immobilise website.

Concerns about terrorism

While the threat of terrorism in the UK is real, terror incidents are few and far between, and with a little knowledge you can increase your safety and help protect yourself against a terrorist attack.

The police have created a video on what to do in the rare event of a firearms or weapons attack. The video below explains the 'Run, Hide, Tell' strategy.

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Overall, be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. If you do see something out of place, for example an item you feel looks suspicious, please do not be afraid to report it to the police.

If you do feel anxious about recent events, remember to keep talking to friends and family, or to seek help from your GP or a mental health professional if you find that you need further help managing your anxiety.

Find out more about mental health and wellbeing support. 

Reporting a crime

If you want to report anything to the police when it is no longer an emergency, call 101, report a crime online on the Metropolitan Police website or visit a police station. In an emergency, remember to always dial 999 straight away.

If you're in London, find your nearest police station on the Metropolitan Police website.

If you are based elsewhere in the UK, use the 'Find a force by area' search on the Police.UK website.

Visit the Metropolitan Police website to report a crime. 

Criminal offences

To ensure that you are obeying the laws of the United Kingdom, here are a few key points to remember:

  • It is a criminal offence to carry weapons in the UK, even if carried for personal protection (this includes knives).
  • It is a criminal offence to be in possession of any illegal substance, for example cannabis.
  • Unlike in some other European countries, it is illegal to carry CS or pepper spray (Mace) in the UK.