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  • Home
  • Crime
  • Going Out
  • Host Families
  • Law
  • Relationships
  • Stop and Search
Welcome to Devon and Cornwall. You can find help on how to stay safe during your stay, how to be alert when you are out and about and how to understand how the laws here may be different to your own country.

What If Something Happens?

If you are assaulted, followed or threatened go to a shop, a police station or any public building and ask for help. Ask somebody to contact the Police for you. Do not worry about language difficulties, the Police will find someone who speaks your language free of charge. If anything happens to you, do not keep it to yourself, tell your tutor, your host family or someone you can trust.

In an emergency you can dial 999 for the Police, Fire Service, Ambulance or Coastguard. 999 calls are free from any telephone.

Non emergencies
For non-emergency calls to Devon and Cornwall Police call 101.

If you think you have been a victim of a hate incident or crime, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you been attacked or threatened with violence?
  • Have you been called names or suffered any other verbal abuse?
  • Have you been sent offensive letters, emails or text messages?
  • Has your property been interfered with or damaged?
  • Have you suffered any other form of hate motivated harassment?

If any of these things are or have been happening to you, please report it to the police. We can only deal with the problem with your help.

Online Crime

Some criminals may target you online or over the phone, for example by telephoning you and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation (such as the UK Home Office, an education agent and so forth).
They demand money and claim that if you do not pay them quickly, there will be damaging consequences.
The caller may appear to be genuine and convincing, either because they have some limited information about you (for example, your passport number, as well as your telephone number and name) or because they appear to be calling from a legitimate phone number.
If you receive such a call or a similar contact, don’t give the caller any personal information and do not confirm that any information they have is correct.
You should never give out your personal details to a caller as you cannot verify their identity.

If you do receive any such contact, please report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website.

Register your pocket electronics (phone, iPod, iPad) FOR FREE on Then, when police officers stop and search suspected thieves, they can check the serial number on the immobilise database and track you as the owner so that you can be reunited with your property.

Planning your night out

  • When you go out, find out where you’re going and let your host family know and tell them when to expect you back.
  • Always go out with people you know and trust.
  • Plan your route and check on bus and train times before you leave.
  • Always use will lit, busy roads and avoid shortcuts through dark quiet areas
  • Stay alert – be aware of your surroundings – don’t wear your earphones when out alone, you won’t be able to hear if someone is following you.
  • Consider carrying a personal attack alarm but not a self defence spray as these are illegal in England.


  • When Waiting for a bus, it is usual to join the back of a queue in England – don’t push in, it will make people angry.
  • Don’t speak to people you don’t know, or go up to their cars – even if they speak to you first.
  • Walk with friends and never walk alone at night – use a taxi. Only share taxis with people you know.
  • Be Alert! Do not walk straight into the road. Remember to look right when you cross the road. Cars in England drive on the left.
  • If you are travelling alone on a bus, train or tube, always sit near other passengers
  • Never walk across or touch railway lines – they will kill you!

Stay Safe

  • Don’t carry your passport and all of your money with you.
  • Keep personal belongings like smartphones and cameras out of view and don’t leave your bag unattended.
  • Never take money or gifts from people you don’t know.
  • Never tell anyone you don’t know any of your personal details.

Be considerate

  • Be considerate on your way home at night. Please keep quiet.
  • Don’t block paths – if you need to group together, find an area with plenty of space.
  • Don’t drop litter. Put it in the bin or take it home with you.

Most host families are given a set of guidelines explaining what is expected of them during your stay. These should include standards such as reasonable and clean living conditions and the facility to shower or bath daily.
Even though you are staying in someone else’s home you are still entitled to your privacy. However, remember you are a guest in their home. Most host families will have their own house rules, for example if you are asked to back at a certain times please respect the request. Also, always ask before you bring people home with you.
Remember to always ask permission to borrow or use something and never take anything from your host’s home without asking first.

You must tell your tutor or language school if:

  • Anybody behaves in a way you fell is unacceptable
  • Your living or sleeping conditions are not suitable
  • Your food is not suitable
  • You are not allowed home before a given time
  • You feel threatened or afraid for any reason.
  • Should you have any problems or you fell homesick, don’t suffer alone, speak to your tutor.

Laws in England may be different from your home country’s. This especially applies to tobacco, alcohol and self defence sprays.


You must be 18 to buy alcohol – most English pubs don’t welcome under 18’s.


You must not carry drugs with you of any kind (unless prescribed by a doctor), or use any illegal drugs including LSD or amphetamines. You must be 18 to buy and smoke cigarettes of tobacco.


It is illegal to carry weapons, including self-defence sprays.

What is sexting?

When people talk about sexting, they usually mean sending and receiving:

  • naked pictures or ‘nudes’
  • ‘underwear shots’
  • sexual or ‘dirty pics’
  • rude text messages or videos

They can be sent to or from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone you’ve met online. Sexting can easily happen. Things can go wrong – even when you didn’t mean for them to.

When you’re under 18 it’s against the law for anyone to take or have a sexual photo of you – even if it’s a selfie.

This means that if you pressure someone into taking a photo or you share a sexual photo with someone, you’re breaking the law. The police have the power to decide whether it’s for the best to record what’s happened or to take things further. But the law is there to protect young people, not punish them.

  • You shouldn’t feel pressured into sending a sex text
  • Once you send a message, it can be sent to others very quickly
  • Try to talk to the person who you sent the nude image to. Ask them to delete it
  • If an indecent or nude pic of you is posted online, you can contact the website to get it removed.

Getting help:

The sooner you talk to somebody about the situation the better. This could be your mum, dad, carer or a teacher. Your school will have ways of dealing with these sorts of problems and can confiscate mobiles if they believe they have sexual images on them.

If you know that an indecent or nude pic of you or a friend has been posted online, you can contact the website, such as Facebook or YouTube, to have it removed.

Police Officers can ask you anything including who you are, where you’ve been and they should explain why they’re asking.

As they’re not using any special powers you do not have to answer their questions; or stop with them – but like with an ordinary person, it is always good to start out being polite back (even if you are telling them you’re not going to talk to them).

As they’re not using any special powers you do not have to answer their questions; or stop with them – but like with an ordinary person, it is always good to start out being polite back (even if you are telling them you’re not going to talk to them).

Consider whether what the police are doing is helpful; trying to keep weapons and dangerous drugs off the street, and stopping people stealing things is something you may want to try and help the police with (even if they don’t have a power to insist you help them).

What will happen?

The police have the power to stop and search to protect members of the community.

We know being stop and searched can be a scary or annoying process but remember it is an important tool the police have to keep us safe.

Remember, stay calm and polite and if you are in doubt of anything that is happening, ask questions.

Removing clothing: police powers

In a public place a police officer can ask you to take off your coat, jacket or gloves.

The police can ask you to take off other clothes including anything you’re wearing for religious reasons – eg a veil or turban. If they do, they must take you somewhere private [out of public view].

If the officer wants to remove more than a jacket and gloves they must be the same sex as you.

What you can expect?

Before you’re searched the police officer must tell you:

  • You are being detained for a search
  • their surname and police station
  • what they expect to find, eg drugs
  • the reason they want to search you, eg you match the detailed description of someone reported to be offering drugs for sale; this cannot be just because of your race age or gender.
  • why they are legally allowed to search you
  • that you can have a record of the search and if this isn’t possible at the time, how you can get a copy

If the police are not in uniform they must show you their warrant cards / ID; Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) must be in uniform.

If you are stopped you should record the details of the officers and what happened:

  • Time and date
  • Officer’s surname and badge number
  • Where were you stopped?
  • What happened?

What can I do if I am unhappy about being Stop and searched?

If you were not happy with why you were stopped and searched or if you were not happy with the way in which you were treated during being stopped and searched you can make a complaint.

To do this go to the contact us section of this website and follow ‘how to make a complaint’. If you don’t want to make an official complaint but want to give feedback (good or bad) on being stopped and searched you can email: stopsearch

This email will be seen by the senior officer reviewing stop and search for the local police and be given to the independent scrutiny group to review.

If I am Stop and searched will this show up on as a criminal record?

Being stopped and searched is not the same as being arrested and is not a criminal record, nor something which you need to tell an employer or anyone else about unless you want to. While a record of the search is kept that is not a criminal record and your details are not put on the local or national police systems as any sort of suspect or criminal.