Students were stopped and searched for drugs during ‘icebreaker event’
re-blogged with thanks to the Get Surrey team.
Two men were arrested last week during an ‘intimidating’ police operation in Royal Holloway University’s students’ union.
Freshers were given a fright when numerous police officers arrived at the union building around 10pm last Friday September 27, both in uniform and plain clothes.
Students found themselves stopped and searched for drugs during the icebreaker event, and one was cuffed and cautioned for obstructing a police officer.
History student Elliot Dugdale said: “I was quite shocked to see so many [police] there. I had never seen anything like that at the student’s union before.”
Some students said they are unaffected by increasing police numbers of campus, but the 22-year-old said others have told him that they feel intimidated.
He added: “I think it was designed to scare and make a big impact on their first week. We are opposed to that kind of policing.”
Royal Holloway students were due to call a demonstration on campus at 11am on Wednesday October 2, protesting against the permitting of police officers to visit the campus before consulting the union’s elected representatives.
A college spokesman said that a firm partnership between the staff, students, public and police is what keeps Royal Holloway one of the 20 safest campuses in the UK.
The spokesman said: “This was part of a routine drugs education and awareness exercise. The police had been invited at the request of the students’ union commercial services team. Police are routinely present on campus both in informal and more formal ways to help ensure that Royal Holloway remains one of the safest environments for students, free of banned substances and associated crime.”
Roger Nield, Runnymede’s neighbourhood inspector, explained that police were there to protect students from ‘unscrupulous’ visitors who have targeted the campus in the past. The same operation was carried out in Thorpe Park the following day.
“Every year we hunt burglars and drug dealers who see students as easy pickings. Local officers will support you to prevent you from becoming a statistic,” he said.
The inspector added: “Remember that we are all glad to have you here in the borough but you are joining a community that’s even larger than the college.”
The creator of a Facebook group called #CopsOffCampus run by the Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance said: “We strongly condemn the presence of police on our and all university campuses.”
A 19-year-old was also arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and has since been released on bail pending further enquiries.