Students at some UK campuses have accused their universities of giving police officers access to halls of residence to monitor for breaches of coronavirus rules, with some complaints of police entering accommodation in the middle of the night.
Students at Sheffield and Manchester who spoke to a news outlet reported regular police patrols and widespread use of penalties of up to £800 to circumvent repeating the major coronavirus outbreaks that transpired in autumn, now students are returning for the spring term.
Students at Sheffield and Manchester say they think that in some cases police officers may have received keys from university security to enter flats unannounced to check that students were not socialising with their neighbours, however, the universities have denied this.
One first-year student living in Froggatt Halls, which is run by the University of Sheffield, said that police have been patrolling the area in which several halls of residence are located every weekend, with her flat visited three times in the last month.
She said the first time was at 1.30 am and she was in bed. The door had been left on the latch, so the police officer came in and was pretty aggressive.
She said that across the hall she could see another police officer chatting to a girl alone in her flat, asking how many people lived there, but she said it was an invasion of privacy.
A student at the University of Leeds said the police had been given access to his accommodation block at about 4 pm one day in mid-February and knocked when he was watching TV with his housemates.
He said the guy asked who was in his flat and that he was pretty forceful and said that he came into the kitchen and said we were all taking the p*ss and the university had called them in to tell them it was their last chance.
A student rent strike group at the University of Sussex tweeted that students should video police entering their flats on their phones and take their badge numbers, as well as asking the reasons for their entry after a group received several reports of heavy-handed policing.
Students at the University of Manchester published a report with the police monitoring network Netpol, saying that multiple police cars patrol the Fallowfield campus every weekend.
The students, who run a campaign called Cops Off Campus, have used legal observer training from the activist group Green and Black Cross to gather testimonies suggesting that unlawful searches of students properties have occurred on numerous occasions, usually under the guise of noise complaints, even when flats are quiet.
However, it’s not implausible to think that some party-loving students may think it’s a great laugh to shop a fellow student who goes to bed early, but it’s also not implausible to think that some party-loving students may socialise in each other’s flats rather than strictly remaining in their own.
The police aren’t supposed to come into your home at any hour of the night while you’re sleeping, especially if they don’t have a warrant – is this even legal? And why would you even want to stay at a university when you’re treated like this? Especially when you’re paying loads of money to be educated there – go abroad and leave this authoritarian stinking cesspit of a country – they’d probably be so much better off.
And there’s going to be a massive mental health pandemic in years to come because you can’t treat young people like their in a concentration camp and expect them to be okay about it.