London: Following the unprovoked killing of Indian student Anuj Bidve in Salford, a 'Safe Spot' scheme is being introduced to provide safety to students in Manchester, particularly international students new to the area.
   
The scheme, drawn up by students from the University of Manchester and the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), envisages the creation of designated 'boltholes' throughout the city centre.
   
Any student who feels scared or threatened will be able to go inside the shops and speak to someone and get immediate access to a phone and special numbers.
   
The scheme was in the pipeline for some time, but has been speeded up after Bidve's killing on December 26, reports from Manchester said.
   
Shops and business establishments are signing up to the scheme. They will display special logos in their windows to show that they are part of the 'Safe Spot' scheme, which starts from February.
   
Jeremy Buck, student union communications officer for Manchester University, said: "The incident with Anuj Bidve throws the issue into sharp focus. People are more aware of the need for safety."
   
He added, "People will be looking for solutions and we need to find one in response to this. I believe it will reassure international students when they come over and will benefit all students. It is something we'll be shouting about when people look to come here."
   
The Greater Manchester Police are reportedly discussing the scheme with shops and business establishments in the city.    

MMU President Tunde Adekoya said: "It will reassure international students. You don't necessarily know what it's like when you go to another country and join a different culture. It will be a welcome that students are getting."
   
He added, "It will help ensure students are safe at all times during the day and in the evenings. It is going to be a great place for international students to access information about the area, where to go and how to get there and general information about their safety."
   
There are demands that the scheme should be available not only to students but to anyone faced with threats.   

Universities UK, the representative organisation of UK universities, has reassured Indian and other international students of their safety while studying here.

(Agencies)