Sussex Police is opening the doors to a new beach hut on Brighton beach, an innovative initiative to help keep people safe.
Launched ahead of the university Freshers’ Week, the beach hut named The Lookout is located in a busy and popular area of Brighton seafront near the carousel and fishing museum.
It will be used by the Brighton and Hove Prevention Team and other partner agencies as a visible presence for the community and visitors to the city. Officers and partners will provide information about crime prevention and water safety, as well as offering a safe space if needed.
Funded by Sussex Police, the blue and white beach hut will have versatile, reusable wraps to transform it from bold police branding for the night-time to a softer more beach-like look promoting water safety and environmental care messages from partners.
The partners involved include Brighton & Hove City Council, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, the RNLI, Brighton Seafront team, Brighton Beach Patrol, who will be using the beach hut during the daytime to delivery wide ranging community and safety messages. It will also contain safety equipment for use in emergencies.
Police officers will be at the beach hut on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Divisional commander Chief Superintendent Nick May said: “The beach hut is an innovative way of working collaboratively with our partners to reduce and prevent problems and issues linked to our busy beach and seafront area.”
“It provides a high visibility presence and is open in time for the Fresher’s Week events starting this month, which will see lots of young adults who have left home for the first time, starting university in Brighton and visiting the city's pubs, bars and clubs and the beach.”
Sarah Hogg, Director of Student Operations and Support at the University of Brighton said: “The safety and well being of all of our students is a major priority. We fully support this initiative which will provide additional assurance to new and returning students in Brighton at the start of a new academic year."
Filip Vasilijevic, University of Sussex Students’ Union (SU) President said: “We at the University of Sussex Students' Union welcome the opening of the Sussex Police beach hut and what it means for students' welfare during Freshers' Week.
"At Sussex SU we take students' safety very seriously, which is why run schemes like the Good Night Owls, where trained student volunteers provide immediate support and assistance to vulnerable students on big nights out in town.
"This year we are catering to our diverse student population by making 50 per cent of our Freshers' Week events completely alcohol-free.”
Nigel Cusack from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service said: "We are pleased to be a part of the beach hut project with our local partners, working together to ensure safety advice is visible in one of busiest places in the city.
"At this time of year when we are welcoming new and returning students, it is an important time to remember to respect the water and offer an opportunity to engage with local services at the beach hut to find out more about keeping safe. We look forward to working together to help keep students, residents and visitors in Brighton and Hove safe."
Jason Roberts from Brighton Beach Patrol said: "We are delighted to see this multi agency facility opened on Brighton seafront, located in an area with heavy student footfall, we are confident that the hut will became a vital part of our shoreline operations. We look forward to working with Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, HM Coastguard and Brighton and Hove City Council to develop this fantastic new asset."
The beach hut will be on Brighton Beach until early November and then removed for further evaluation into its effectiveness.