A COLLEGE is handing out hundreds of personal alarms to staff in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard.

Darlington College said it was trying to improve security to make people feel safer at the site.

Deputy principal Carole Todd said the college had been conscious of safety on campus following the murder of student Ashleigh Hall, who was groomed and killed by a sexual predator in 2009.

She said: "We have been conscious of safety right across the college community since Ashleigh’s tragic death and when Sarah Everard was killed this really did resonate.

“The intimidation and harassment of men and women is nothing new and many people have suffered over the years.

“We have tried to create a culture here where people can speak up if they have concerns and we have heard back from many who felt uncomfortable leaving the college in the dark. So we have improved on-site security and the personal alarms are the next logical step. They are a very effective deterrent to would-be attackers and also attract a lot of attention when activated.”

The college has given out 500 personal alarms to both male and female members of staff, which issue a piercing alarm when activated.

There has also been a substantial investment in other safety measures, including improved lighting, particularly around the concourse and car parks, and the installation of high quality digital CCTV which is connected to a central control room.

The college is backing a Government initiative to collect evidence of incidents of violence against people.

Ms Todd, who leads a 15-strong team which looks after the wellbeing of staff and students at the college, added: “We are encouraging our staff to talk to young people about the issue and by doing so we are raising awareness that threats and violence are unacceptable in modern society.

“We are also teaching everyone the international sign for help for anyone who finds themselves in trouble.

“With the increase in on-line learning our staff can find themselves looking through a digital window into people’s home lives, some of whom might be experiencing domestic violence.

"It is a key strategic objective of this college to keep the issue of security open so everyone can feel safe.”