Safety on and off campus

Whether you are in London or elsewhere in the UK, here are some tips on how to keep yourself as safe as possible.

 On this page:

Safety and security on campus

If you have any questions or concerns on campus, contact UCL Security. The team is 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.

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


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. If you are with a trusted 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 bicycle 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 bike 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 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.

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. 

You can also contact UCL's Security team direct from your phone with the SafeZone app.

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 Sophie Bimson, Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Adviser.

You will receive follow-up support from UCL if you have witnessed or experienced a crime, or for all other security enquiries. You can also contact Sophie by email.

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.

Off campus

Call 999. 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.

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.

UCL Security

Should you feel unsafe and are on campus, please call Security on 020 7679 2108 or extension 32108, or dial 222 in an emergency. The team will liaise with emergency services if you are on campus.

Report + Support

Request to speak with an adviser on UCL Report and Support. An adviser can:

  • Talk through the University's procedures
  • Inform you on how to make a complaint
  • Let you know what support is available, in confidence

Contact a Report + Support adviser

Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing

If you have a disability and are the victim of a crime, speak to one of our Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisers during a same-day appointment, which can be booked through the askUCL student enquiries system. Our Advisers will have a supportive conversation with you, listen to any issues you may be experiencing or have experienced in the past, and help you access support if needed. 

I Heart Consent

Learn more about what is meant by sexual consent and ending sexual violence at UCL. Complete the Report + Support I Heart Consent interactive online training.

Student's Union

You can report a hate crime confidentially through the Students’ Union UCL.

Staying safe off campus

To protect yourself when you are not on the UCL campus, always consider your belongings, your surroundings and your wellbeing. Stay aware of the following issues to keep yourself safe in London and the UK.

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. To protect your valuables: 

  • Do not keep all your valuables in one place
  • Do not leave your bags unattended anywhereAs well as attracting pickpockets, you could also create a security alert
  • Keep your bags where you can see them in restaurants, bars or theatres. Do not put your bag on the floor or over the back of your chair
  • Wear your bag in front of you, not over your shoulder, in crowded areas such as a bus or Underground train
  • Do not be distracted by your surroundings. Be aware that criminals may try to divert your attention
Withdrawing cash

It is important to take extra care when withdrawing cash in London. To protect your cash:

  • Do not carry large amounts of cash around with you
  • 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. Metropolitan Police give further advice on ATM security
  • Look into obtaining a pre-paid cash card, particularly if you are an international student and need funds for your arrival. The card allows you to load money on to it, and you use it similarly to a debit card. For more information, visit the Money Advice Service
  • Register your pocket electronics (phone, iPad etc.) for free on the Immobilise website. When police officers stop and search suspected thieves, they can check the serial number on the Immobilise database and track you as the owner. Then, they can reunite you with your property
Concerns about terrorism

While the threat of terrorism in the UK is real, terror incidents are few and far between. 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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Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Should you 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. If you need further help managing your anxiety, seek help from your GP, a mental health professional or contact UCL's mental health and wellbeing support service.

Reporting a crime

In an emergency, remember to always dial 999 straight away.

To report an incident 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. 

If you're in London, you can 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.

Report a crime to the Metropolitan Police

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. Please refer to the list of Class A, B and C drugs on the GOV.UK website
  • Unlike in some other European countries, it is illegal to carry CS or pepper spray (Mace) in the UK