The cities’ universities are pleased with their intake, especially as the number of applicants nationally has fallen by 7.7 per cent. But police are advising the first-year students – or freshers as they are known – to follow simple steps so they don’t become crime victims.
Professor Gerry Kelleher, deputy vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Against the national backdrop of difficult recruitment for many universities, we are pleased to say that we have an excellent new intake of students who are of the highest quality we have ever had.”
Manchester Met has just under 7,700 new students and the University of Manchester said it has around 7,500. The University of Salford said it is welcoming around 6,700.
Claire MacLean, interim director of student life at the University of Salford, said: “The campus is busy as usual with students taking part in Welcome Week activities.”
A spokesman for the University of Manchester said: “The campus is buzzing. For first year students it can be quite daunting, so we have people all over campus with ‘ask me’ badges, pointing them in the right direction.”
Insp Andy Smith, who is leading Greater Manchester Police’s Safe Student operation, said officers would be increasing patrols in student areas and officers were also giving safety talks.
He said: “We are encouraging students to join the Manchester Student Safety Facebook page which has been created by GMP, Manchester City Council and the universities. It includes updates on crime in your area and features useful information and advice on how to stay safe.
“We will be targeting known offenders and our PCSOs will carry out crime prevention surveys and provide advice in students’ homes.”
He advised students out at night to stick to well-lit areas, stay in groups, pace their drinks and keep valuables out of sight. If they were at home he advised them to lock doors and windows even when they were in and to leave a light on when they went out.
*Students have been warned they could be at high risk of meningitis. Communications agency Reason Digital has developed a phone app for the Meningitis Trust which outlines the critical symptoms along with links to A&E or GPs.