Home Office Minister congratulates YUSU’s Street Angels project

Home Office Minister Norman Baker has congratulated YUSU for its involvement in setting up a Street Angels-style initiative.

The Liberal Democrat MP said that he “very much” welcomed the proposal as he answered questions on anti-social behaviour in the House of Commons.

The MP for Lewes added that doing away with the “old top-down approach” and giving “the agencies the freedom and flexibility they need to make a difference locally” meant that the proposal could go ahead.

The NightSafe scheme being set up by the university’s students’ union will involve undergraduates and postgraduates patrolling the York city streets in a bid to reduce the number of students in vulnerable situations, to reduce drug and alcohol-related hospital admissions and to reduce the pressure placed on the emergency services.

YUSU President Kallum Taylor told Vision: “We’re really pleased to see that the NightSafe idea has reached parliament. Even though we still have to find the resource to pull off exactly what we want to pull off, if this can inspire others across the nation to do similar things then that can only be a good thing.”

Mr Baker was asked to welcome the proposals by local Conservative MP Julian Sturdy, who said: “Will the Minister join me in welcoming proposals from students at York university to establish a Street Angels-style initiative? The aim is to combat antisocial behaviour and to prevent alcohol and drug-related tragedies for those who find themselves in particularly vulnerable situations.”

The move comes following the disappearance of two young people in the city within the last three months.

York St John student Megan Roberts, 20, was found dead by a passerby in the River Ouse last Sunday after last being seen outside Tokyo Nightclub in January.

And 22-year-old Ben Clarkson, who was also a York St John student, has not been seen since leaving Fibbers Nightclub in the early hours of 2 March.

Police searching for the missing former undergraduate have thanked a man for coming forward after they released CCTV images of an individual they wanted to trace in relation to Ben’s disappearance.

But they say the man was not the person they were looking for who was walking along Layerthorpe at the same time as Ben.

Detectives are asking for a white man, wearing a light coloured jacket with dark trousers and shoes to come forward.

He was walking along the Stonebow, towards the Foss Islands Road junction, on the opposite side of the road to Ben where a short time later, he took the same route as the 22-year-old.

Inspector Neil Drummond, of York Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “If you could be the man who walked along Layerthorpe at the same time as Ben, I ask you to get in touch with us as soon as possible as I believe you will have noticed Ben walking across the street from you.

“Anyone who can assist the search for Ben Clarkson should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1 pass the information to the Force Control Room.”