THE WELFARE Office’s controversial plans to break into campus bedrooms to highlight student security have been scrapped after Security Services controversially withdrew their support and advised against it.
The ‘Nicked It!’ campaign, first reported in nouse in May, was spearheaded by the Welfare Officer, John Rose. Student Union officials were to gain entry to campus bedrooms through open windows or unlocked doors unsupervised and place red stickers on any valuables left visible.
However the article in nouse revealed deep doubts over the campaign and questioned its legality. James Flinders, the Halifax JCRC chair, commented that he had “massive reservations” over the original plans, and students declared that it wasn’t up to the SU “to decide whether you should close your door or not.”
A lawyer from Cambridge University, James Burke, also warned that entering student’s bedrooms without permission would “be an encroachment by the University… and indeed a potentially separate trespass by any SU personnel.”
Originally the Security Services had placed their full backing behind Rose. Mick Watkins, Operations Manager, praised it for being “a really positive initiative” and declared that he was “very keen for the campaign to go ahead.” Security Services officers would not accompany the campaign, but had promised their support and guidance.
However only a fortnight later this stance had significantly changed. Minutes of the Welfare Committee Meeting on 27th May note that “the Welfare Committee did not want to go against Security’s advice”. Added to this, the University had now got involved and said “they didn’t like the idea of the campaign”.
Security Services were unavailable for comment on the new advice they had given to the Welfare Committee. But in an interview with nouse John Rose confirmed that instead of welcoming the campaign as they had done before, they were now telling the SU “not to enter into people’s rooms”.
In the absence of an effective SU campaign, the University campus has been declared a crime “hotspot” by Fulford Police. An Officer confirmed that the “increase of high visibility patrols” were a “preventative method” because of the increasing crime rate on campus.
James Flinders has welcomed the police presence as “highly encouraging” and it has already appeared to work. An undercover Police Officer on campus confirmed that they had made one arrest after just an hour of surveillance. Rose also commented that the negative publicity for his ‘Nicked It!’ campaign had actually done its job by raising student awareness of security, and that it had “made everyone aware that they should be locking their doors and their windows.”