Officer Statement: Met Police Safety Workshops at UAL

We are deeply disappointed that UAL have invited the Metropolitan Police Service onto our campuses, and we strongly oppose their presence. Read our full statement.

 

Your Sabbatical Officers were recently made aware of the upcoming Safe and Secure workshops being held for students on UAL campuses, being led by plain-clothes Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) from the Safer Neighbourhood team, which is part of the Metropolitan Police Service.  

 

We are concerned about Metropolitan Police Service staff with arresting powers being invited onto campus and interacting with students, given their history of their treatment of minority groups. In recent years the Metropolitan Police Service have received accusations of institutionalised racism, misogyny, homophobia (1, 2) and victim blaming (3, 4). For these reasons we recognise that some students will not be comfortable with their presence on campus.  

 

We have been in numerous discussions with UAL regarding these workshops specifically as well as conversations regarding having the police on campus over a number of years. UAL initially told us early this term that they understood our apprehension and asked us for our ideas on alternatives arrangements. Despite the Students’ Union making multiple suggestions regarding sourcing more appropriate organisations to deliver safety advice to students, we were informed last week that despite our concerns, UAL have decided to move ahead with these workshops. 

 

As we have seen in news reports just yesterday, there are deep and widespread concerns regarding the Metropolitan Police and their conduct (5, 6), whether this being historical cases such as that of Sarah Everard and its aftereffects (7, 8, 9), or long-standing concerns such as the targeting of Black and Brown minorities (10).  

 

Taking this into consideration, we are deeply disappointed at the invitation by the university and strongly oppose the presence of the Metropolitan Police Service on campus. We are also troubled that UAL has not prioritised being transparent to students in advance of their attendance by instead asking them to attend in plain clothes. 

 

We will be gathering further feedback from students during the weeks ahead, continuing to raise our concerns with university senior leadership and discussing the matter at our Annual Members Meeting on the 30th November with further updates to follow via social media. Our Annual Members Meeting is a space for all students to attend and feed into the work of the students’ union so please do come along to share your thoughts on this and other areas of work we will be conducting on behalf of students as UAL.

 

Below are the dates and locations of UAL's Safe and Secure events, where plain-clothes Metropolitan Police Service officers will be present (*asterisk denotes planned attendance of Metropolitan Police Service officers):

18 October: Camberwell (Peckham Road)

20 October: Chelsea

25 October: LCC*

26 October: Wimbledon

1 November: LCF (John Prince's St)*

3 November: CSM (King's Cross)*

 

In response to this, we have created a petition against UAL's decision to invite plain-clothes Metropolitan Police Service officers onto campus.

You can find this petition here.

 

In Solidarity, 

Your Sabbatical Officers 2022-2023

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