Staffordshire University’s popular on campus police officer is retiring after nearly eight years of university life.
PC Simon Stone, 55 from Newcastle-under-Lyme, has worked as Staffordshire University’s dedicated Police Liaison Officer since 2014, helping to keep students, the campus and the local community safe.
A friendly face and well-known presence on campus and across social media, Simon has built strong relationships with both students and staff. He said: “Since joining Staffs, I have never looked back. I’m very passionate about my work and the first thing I did when I started was to make myself available, be approachable and get to know everyone across the campus.
“We have got students from all walks of life, including international students, and many are away from home for the first time. The main aim for me has been to guide them through their student journey and keep them on the right track so that they enjoy their time here.”
Over the years, Simon has worked closely with the Students’ Union, Staffordshire Police, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council on a variety of campaigns around crime prevention, drink and drug awareness, consent, and much more. This includes the Cop Shop project which has seen Simon mentor numerous student volunteers from across the University and earned him a Proud to be Staffs Award nomination.
Simon introduced the Safer Footsteps scheme to help students get home safely as part of the Student Union’s Be Safe campaign, which won the Suzy Lamplugh Safer Campus Award in 2016. Painted on the pavement, the footsteps provide a safe, well-lit route from the City Centre to campus and were recently repainted by Cop Shop volunteers.
Simon was recognised at the 2021 Staffordshire Police Force Awards where he received The Christopher James Award for the powerful suicide awareness campaign Just Say Something alongside colleagues PCSO Andrew Bagnall and PCSO Keith Mellor.
Another other career highlight was visiting Srebrenica with a group of students to learn about the genocide during the Bosnian War and he has shared this experience to help educate students about hate crime.
Simon played a key role during the Covid-19 pandemic, continuing to patrol campus during the lockdowns and helping students in need. He also created a series of student-to-student videos with Cop Shop volunteers, as well as regularly featuring on student radio station OMG.
Students’ Union President Hannah Blackburn said: “The Students’ Union has worked closely with PC Simon Stone throughout his time at Staffs. We are immensely proud of his dedication to our students, for working to keep our community safe, promote well-being, and consistently demonstrate that he is on our students’ side and ready to support in any way he can.
“Those who have worked with Simon have seen first-hand how passionate he is about creating opportunities for our students to engage, shape and deliver Cop Shop messages and campaigns. Recognising his work via our Proud to be Staffs Awards was just one small measure by which we could thank Simon. It has truly been a pleasure to work alongside him, he is going to be a tough act to follow, and we wish him all the very best for a long and happy retirement.”
Tom Callow, Head of Campus Security, added: “Simon has dedicated himself to his role as our Police Liaison Officer for many years, and has been invaluable in providing help and assistance to our students in terms of crime advice. His friendly and approachable nature, as well as his willingness to go the extra mile, have been a credit to himself, our University and Staffordshire Police. Simon will be sorely missed by all of us in the Security Team.”
Simon became a full-time officer with Staffordshire Police in 2003 after volunteering as a special constable. He worked as a beat officer in Blurton then a plain clothes officer before joining Staffordshire University.
He adds: “I’m really proud to be a police officer. Some of the best times in my career have been at Staffordshire University and I’m so proud to have worked with such a professional security team. Together, I think that we have made it a very safe place for students and staff. I’ve made many friendships and will miss working with colleagues across the University and beyond. It is going to be emotional, but I think it is the right time to retire. I joined the police because I wanted to make a difference – and I know that I have made that difference.”