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As if we students did not have enough to deal with - facing a lack of university support, and paying extortionate rent for rooms we haven't been able to live in - we now might get a midnight visit from our local bobby. Students at the universities of Sheffield and Manchester are concerned that university bosses may have given police officers keys to their flats to check for any rule-breaking, socialising or flaunting of the Covid guidelines.
A student at Froggatt Halls in Sheffield explained that the police had visited her flat three times within the last month, the first being at 1.30am while she was in bed. Students at Manchester and Leeds also gave similar stories of officers entering their flats unexpectedly and patrolling to search for gatherings, with the officers usually being quite forceful or aggressive.
The universities deny handing keys to officers. But Manchester students have created the Cops Off Campus campaign to ensure police only visit to respond to incidents, and stop searching properties unlawfully.
This situation would be worrying in usual circumstances, but with the current tensions arising over police brutality and the police and protesting bill put forward by the Tories, I cannot help but feel like this is another tendril of the authoritarianism of this government.
Public opinion of the police is low, and events like this further drive a spike into the idea of the police making us feel safe.
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Article dated 24 March 2021
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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