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Counsellors reduce violence on campus

South Birmingham College has reduced disruption after getting rid of its security guards.

Principal Alan Hicks said incidents involving drugs, fights, and other disruption had virtually been eliminated after the college abandoned traditional security guards for non-uniformed youth workers.

Members of the 20-strong student support team sport sweatshirts rather than peaked caps, and mingle with the crowd.

The staff are trained in self-defence and fitness, but are also skilled in negotiation, counselling and youth work.

Now other colleges have expressed interest in the work at South Birmingham.

Mr Hicks said: "We recruited a handful of people in their twenties, fairly large, with street credibility.

"They mingled with the students, identified the real villains and threw them out. And then they tried to turn disruptive people to do something useful like getting involved in sport or societies.

"Now students themselves have commented on how the atmosphere has improved.

"Bad students drive out good, but we have managed to reverse that and the place is running really well."

"We now have a first-class specialist staff who are highly trained in preventative techniques and this is why our scheme has proved so successful in a student population of 20,000."

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