A SAFETY initiative is being rolled out across Stirling with the university’s Fresher’s Week in full swing.

Operation Steadfast Fresher’s - a co-operation between council, police and partner agencies – is aiming to provide new and returning students a safe and warm welcome to the city, following its introduction in the summer.

It will look at tackling crime and antisocial behaviour while protecting young and vulnerable people from harm and also educating young motorists of the dangers of driving under the influence among other things.

Councillor Maureen Bennison, convener of the Public Safety Committee, explained: “The start of the new academic year always brings a lot of new faces to Stirling and we welcome them with open arms.

“We want them to feel at home in Stirling straight away, and hopefully not just for their time at university or college.

“The council is always working with partners to enhance the quality of life for people visiting or living in Stirling, taking in everything Stirling has to offer, including its excellent night and social life.

“That’s why it makes such sense to roll out Operation Steadfast again, giving the city centre a strong and positive presence of council staff and police teams to secure public safety and support the community.”

The operation will run until Sunday, September 16, and will provide day time education at Stirling University, with targeted visits also made to the city centre and licensed premises between 8pm and 2am.

Partner agencies include Street Pastors and the Alcohol and Drug Partnership while letters were also sent to taxi companies to advise them on the influx of people into the city.

Inspector Anton Stephenson, of Police Scotland, said the first operation during the summer was the beginning of a long term approach to joint working in the city centre.

He added: “The initial results were very encouraging and has given us something to build on. Steadfast Fresher’s is now underway and planning for Steadfast Festive is almost complete.

“I can re-assure the public though that in between the Steadfast Operations we have had, we will continue to have increased high visibility patrols in the city centre and we will work with partners on an ongoing basis.

“We are seeing very positive results right across that area in terms of reducing antisocial behaviour, violence and disorder and would urge the public to continue to report incidents to us."