How criminal is your college?

They weren’t too happy we asked

crime criminal records FOI gangster's paradise

At the start of this term, The Tab sent out an FOI request to all 31 colleges asking for details about Fellows’ and college employees’ criminal records.

Specifically, we requested:

  • The total number of a) Fellows and b) College employees in general who have a criminal record of any description.
  • The number of c) Fellows and d) College employees in general who have ever committed, to the best of the College’s knowledge, any crimes of the following nature:
  1. Theft
  2. Alcohol
  3. Drugs
  4. Anti-social behaviour
  5. Sexual offences
  6. Tax evasion

27 out of 31 colleges responded, with some interesting results.

Thought bike thieves were the only criminals on our turf? Think again

Only 6 colleges revealed that there were zero Fellows or employees with criminal records ‘to the best of their knowledge’. Clare Hall, Girton, Hughes Hall, Jesus, Peterhouse, St. Johns and Selwyn all claim to be entirely spot-free.

Pembroke reminded us of the theft committed by a finance officer during their employment last year, but also claims that no other current employees have a criminal record.

Worryingly, 15 colleges –  over half of all those who responded – claimed that all or part of the information requested was ‘not held’ by the College.

Newnham and Medwards were the worst of the lot, giving us nothing more specific than ‘not held’ for each of the parts of the FOI request.

Looks so pretty from the outside…

The rest – Caius, Clare, Christ’s, Corpus Christi, Darwin, Emma, Girton, Lucy Cavendish, Magdalene, Pembroke, St. Catz, Sidney Sussex and Wolfson – claimed not to ‘hold’ at least part of the information requested.

Caius, Churchill, Clare, Christ’s, Downing, Magdalene and Emma wriggled out of giving us at least half of the requested data by claiming it to be exempt under Section 12 (it’d take too long) or Section 40 (the data requested is too personal) of the Act.

Meanwhile, Fitzwilliam and King’s refused to answer any of the requests on the basis of total exemption under the aforementioned Sections.

Shrouded in mystery

Now for the juicy bits:

  • Churchill disclosed that 1 member of staff had a drink-driving conviction, whilst 1 Fellow has a known criminal record of an unspecified nature.
  • Darwin employs 1 worker with a past conviction that is featured on our list of 6, but refused to specify which one.
  • Downing employs three previous offenders under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, 1974. They stressed that they “do consider fully what the implication of any individual’s criminal conviction might be”. Good on them.
  • Homerton employs two ex-cons, one of whom committed theft.
  • Robinson employs 1 member of staff with a conviction that falls outside of our list.
  • St Catz has 1 employee with an anti-social behaviour conviction.

The real naughty Nigels, however, are the 4 colleges – Queens, St. Edmunds, Trinity and Tit Hall – who failed to acknowledge or reply to our requests within the 20-working day statutory period.

Cambridge: not so squeaky-clean after all.