Cambridge Coppers clueless at student ‘spying’ questions

FRANCESCA EBEL and HARRY SHUKMAN question the police on student surveillance.

Cambridge cde cops culc CUSU Francesca Ebel harry shukman police Spying surveillance

Cambridge cops shrugged their shoulders and stared into space while students fired questions at them about last term’s ‘spying’ revelations.

The boys in blue came to speak at the Grad Union, billed by CUSU as a chance to voice concerns about police surveillance on students, as reported by The Tab last term.

Sir Graham Bright, who justified the surveillance claiming he didn’t want to see a repeat of the Woolwich murder, declined an invitation.

Instead Constable Simon Railer and Chief Inspector Steve Poppet were present and kept mum for most of the meeting, ducking and weaving student questions.

The stony-faced coppers admitted that the revelations had had “a negative impact” and that now their relations with students “could be improved”.

Constable Simon said, “we appear to have miscalculated in terms of our response to student protests. We can get things slightly wrong.”

‘Spying’ on students: only slightly wrong

Coppers were caught last term trying to recruit an informant to spy on student political societies, which was blasted by local MP Julian Huppert as “absurdist scaremongering”.

They reaffirmed that the police had used legitimate covert tactics when they tried to recruit an informant to spy on student political societies.

When asked to comment on the current relationship with students, Inspector Steve replied “they’re good. They’re the same as before.”

He went on to say that “if people want to be upset, they have a legitimate right to be upset.”

Students seemed unsatisfied with his answer. CULC member Conrad Landin drew attention to the meeting’s poor attendance, telling police that students were “intimidated” by their presence at uni.

Cambridge Defend Education, one of the groups targeted by police surveillance chose to boycott the event as it went against the principle of the ‘Cops Off Campus’ movement.

CUSU President Flick Osbourne said she was “frustrated” by the absence of the PCC, adding that “CUSU is disappointed that Sir Graham Bright could not attend to give fuller answers to students’ cares and concerns.”

By the end of the evening, the cops said they would improve their external comms, suggesting a way of improving student-police relations was by using The Tab.

Sounds like a plan.