Cardiff Police tell students they can enter houses ‘by any means necessary’
This change comes after new lockdown rules enforced in Wales
South Wales Police can now enter homes freely, under new Health Protection Regulations (Coronavirus Restrictions), in an effort to regulate mass gatherings and households mixing.
This comes after students have criticised the recent police presence in Cathays. South Wales Police – along with police volunteers – have been seen attending student homes within the area and asking questions about the number of residents, as well as explaining the coronavirus restrictions.
A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “South Wales Police and their Police Volunteers, many of whom are Cardiff University students, have begun their annual door-to-door Crime Prevention and Personal Safety campaign”. They went on to say that is an annual campaign which involves “giving direct advice to students in the local community” in order “to keep the student population safe”.
However, Cardiff students are already telling stories of police entering their homes, and considering it “an invasion of privacy”.
Jamie, a third year Cardiff University student, told The Cardiff Tab that he and his and four housemates were “having a dinner party” to celebrate one of them having just finished long exams to get onto postgrad medicine. He said they were “drinking and listening to music” but clarified it was “nothing too rowdy”. He then explained how four police officers arrived with the suspicion that up to 3 houses were congregating within his house. The police proceeded to search the house in which “they looked through every room and in the garden and obviously found nothing”.
He states that “one officer told us that they were allowed to enter a house by any means necessary without permission because of the lockdown rules”.
Jamie describes the experience as “nerve wracking” and feels that “students are being specifically targeted, despite the fact we were told to come back to uni!”
Cardiff Council have released information about the new regulations for residents, and what power the police have to enter homes.
When asked about the police presence in student areas, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis told The Cardiff Tab: “We recognise it has been a particularly challenging time for students with restrictions coming in to force just as the academic year began” and the police want to “work with the students to ensure they understand the restrictions and what is expected of them”.
The Assistant Chief Constable continued that he would prefer to “engage and encourage compliance” with students “but those deliberately and blatantly flouting the rules can expect to be subject to enforcement action”.