Fifteen to One | Helping keep campus safe

“Leeds has a diverse community and everyone should feel safe and able to be themselves.”

Fifteen to One | Helping keep campus safe, October 2023

New Police Higher Education Liaison Officer (PHELO), PC Vanessa Jardine, outlines her role helping keep campus safe during her 12-month stint covering maternity leave and how she plans to further develop networks across the University.

Discover what inspired Vanessa to join the Force, her pride at helping support the next generation of police officers and her top tip for staying safe.

Can you describe your role in 100 words?

I’m the link between the University and the police. Leeds has a diverse community and everyone should feel safe and able to be themselves. My role is to work closely with the University, its partners and other police departments to help safeguard staff and students, addressing emerging issues and threats to ensure the wellbeing of everyone in the community. My aim is to treat everyone fairly and with respect, to provide help and support, where needed, and to be someone you feel able to talk to. 

How have your first few weeks been since joining the University?

Busy! I’m still finding my feet and getting to know lots of new people.

What’s really impressed you about Leeds?

All the excellent support services the University provides for staff and students. It’s really impressive. I’ve spoken with several students who’ve required police assistance. I always ask if they would like any further support only to be told the University is already providing it, which shows it’s doing a great job.

What question have you most frequently been asked in your new role?

Not really a question in relation to work but I’ve been asked if I’m OK, which is really nice and also helps start conversations. 

What are you most looking forward to working on?

I think the event stalls, where I can meet new people and have a chat. Topics I plan to cover include drugs and alcohol, as well as violence against women and girls. Although open to everyone, the events will mainly be aimed at students, to give them as much help and advice as possible.

If there was one top safety tip you could give colleagues, what would it be?

To make sure your mobile phone has a charged battery. It can be your best friend and there are loads of apps you can use for help and support.

What made you choose a career in policing?

I remember my brother had an application to join the police and I had a read of it. The job sounded really interesting. I pondered it for a while and then thought I could do that! I wanted to help the community and make it a safer place to live.

Is there something, or someone, that has inspired you in your career?

A sergeant I worked with who had really good leadership skills. They were emotionally aware, believed in me and identified my strengths, showing me how to work towards my goals.

We all have that professional or personal achievement we’re incredibly proud of – can you tell us yours?

I’m a Voluntary Police Cadet Leader and I’m really proud of this, hopefully giving the cadets an insight into the police.

What are your campus highlights so far?

Meeting some wonderful people, particularly my colleagues in Security Services.

Have you found a favourite location on campus?

Not yet! I’m still trying to find my way around, but some of the buildings are spectacular.

What’s still on your ‘to do’ list to visit?

Visiting the coffee shops!

What do you do to relax away from University life?

I love watching my son play rugby and visiting theme parks. Alton Towers is my favourite. I love rollercoasters like Thirteen and Rita Wickerman, but I have to close my eyes on Smiler!

Where’s your favourite travel destination and why?

It would have to be Ruka in Finland. It’s magical and absolutely freezing, but once you get wrapped up nice and warm, it’s an amazing place to be. I enjoy skiing but I’m not the best at it!

What’s your random claim to fame?

I once appeared on a radio show where I won cream cakes for the entire office!

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