Staying safe

  • There are lots of things that happen out on the street that you can’t control
  • You can take steps to keep yourself safe when you’re out and about
  • If you’re hurt or threatened or someone steals something from you when you’re out and about, you can tell the police

Staying safe when you are out and about and away from home, even if it’s just going to the shops or the park is a lot about how other people behave. There are a lot of laws and rules in Wales that set out behaviour that isn’t allowed. These laws and rules are aimed at making everyone feel safe when they are out in public. If people behave in ways that are dangerous or make you feel scared, they could be breaking the law, and can be punished.

If you have information about any kind of crime, whether it's something that affects you, or something you've seen that affects someone else, you can report it anonymously to fearless.org.

Can shops use The Mosquito devices to keep me and my friends away from them?

Some shops and businesses use devices which make a high-pitched noise to stop children and young people gathering there. They only work on young people because as people get older they can’t hear the noises that are made by the devices. At the moment, there is no law in Wales that says these can’t be used, although some people argue that they should be banned.

What happens if an adult threatens or hurts me in public?

Just as you shouldn’t be threatened or hurt by an adult you live with, you shouldn’t be threatened or hurt by an adult out in public. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you know or someone you don’t know. Remember too that no one is allowed to hit you except your parents (and in Wales this may change soon so that no one can hit you). If you are hurt or threatened by an adult, you should tell the police. If you’re worried about going to the police or don’t know how to do that, you could ask an adult you trust to help you.

What if someone I don’t know, or don’t know very well, tries to talk to me and make friends?

You should always be careful if someone you don’t know, especially an adult, tries to start talking to you. They might try to persuade you to go somewhere different or to leave your friends. They might tell you that they’ve got a message for you. Although it might be fine, you should always be careful to make sure you are safe – so don’t go anywhere on your own with someone you don’t know very well and always make sure someone knows where you are going.

Can someone take me away?

Some adults do want to hurt children, and may try to take you away. This is called kidnapping and an adult might take the opportunity to try and take a child from the street while they are out. This is a crime and an adult who takes a child away has broken the law. This means that if you are kidnapped, the police will have to investigate and look for you to make you safe.

If the police think you have broken the law, they can arrest you and take you to a police station. They have to tell you what your rights are, and tell your parent or carer as soon as possible. Find out more about what will happen and your rights at the police station here.

What if someone in the police is making me feel unsafe?

The police are there to protect you, but also to stop laws being broken and crimes being committed. If the police think that you have broken the law, they are allowed to stop you and ask you questions. They may be able to search you, and might arrest you and take you to the police station. They must themselves stay within the law, so they can’t hit you or harm you and they should always respect you, and your rights.

Can I be protected if another child or young person is hurting me or making me feel scared?

If you’re being bullied by someone or a group of people, or they are making you feel scared or are hurting you, they are breaking the law. If they are under 10, they aren’t old enough to be arrested or charged with a criminal offence, but that doesn’t mean nothing can happen to them. If the other children or young people hurting you are 10 or over, their behaviour could well be a crime. You can tell the police, no matter what age you think the person hurting you is.  If you’re living in social housing, and the child lives in the same area, you could tell your landlord what is happening.

What if someone offers me alcohol or drugs?

You have to decide what you want to do. It’s illegal to drink alcohol in public if you’re under 18, and it’s illegal to use drugs however old you are. If you’re found drinking or taking drugs in public, you might get arrested by the police. Even if you’re not arrested, you might find yourself doing things you don’t want to do or wouldn’t have done if you hadn’t drunk alcohol or taken drugs.

What happens if someone steals my phone or something from me?

If someone steals something from you it’s a crime, so you should report it to the police.

Are people allowed to carry knives, guns or other weapons?

People are only allowed to carry a knife in Wales if they have a good reason. This might be something like they use a knife for work, and they are going to work – this might apply to a cook or chef.

The only kind of knife people can carry is one with a folding blade, the cutting edge has to be less than 3 inches long, and it can’t be a knife that has been banned. Most people won’t have a good reason to have a knife with them. If the police think someone has a knife, they are allowed to stop and search that person.

You can only have a gun if you have a firearms certificate. You have to be 18 or older to have one of these, so a child should never have a gun.

Lots of weapons are also banned, including blowpipes, telescopic truncheons, and things like shurikens (or throwing stars) and knuckledusters.

If you’re worried that someone you know is carrying a knife, gun or other weapon, you should tell the police or an adult you trust and ask them to tell the police.

Am I allowed to carry a weapon to use if someone attacks me?

You’re not allowed to carry anything that has been made to hurt someone. Even something like a spray could hurt someone if it went in their eyes.

The rules on guns, knives and weapons apply for whatever reason you want to have the weapon. If you’re under 18, you can’t have a gun (or an imitation gun) anyway. You can only carry a knife of a certain type if it’s for a good reason – in Wales, it’s not a good reason to carry a knife because you think you might be attacked.

Is there anything I can carry to protect me when I’m out on the street?

You are allowed to carry an attack alarm which lets off a siren when it is activated. This can scare off an attacker and alert other people that you are in trouble.

How am I protected from cars and traffic?

There are laws that are supposed to keep you safe from cars and traffic when you’re on the street. Drivers must follow the Highway Code, and it is against the law to drive when they have had too much to drink or if they have taken illegal drugs. People aren’t allowed to drive dangerously, and shouldn’t use their mobile phone while they are driving unless they have a proper ‘hands free’ kit to use. Drivers who are caught driving in a way that breaks the law can be punished. In some cases they will be banned from driving and could go to prison.