Police officers ‘told students that they had keys to access their bedrooms’

Leeds Uni denied the claim that police have keys to students’ rooms

Police officers “told students that they had keys to access their bedrooms”, when they descended on Lupton Hall on Monday evening.

The University of Leeds has categorically said that police officers don’t have keys to student flats.

West Yorkshire Police are not investigating the incident.

Danny Partington, a first year student at Lupton Hall, told The Leeds Tab: “Police insisted upon entering flats when they had no reason to and told students that they had keys to access their bedrooms, as well as the flats as a whole, and could enter at any time for any reason as they have the university’s permission to do so.”

Danny described how other students encountered similar experiences, adding: “Many students found the police to be intimidating.”

Inspector Andy Loftus, who heads the Leeds North West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware of a number of recent incidents within the student community and have responded accordingly to ensure any offences are appropriately investigated.

“We have a long-standing positive relationship with the universities and the student community, and our student liaison officers play a key role in our ongoing work to keep students safe during their time in Leeds.

“On Monday 15 February officers from the local Neighbourhood Policing Team took to three halls of residence to engage, explain and encourage students to behave in line with the current coronavirus restrictions.

“Also we distributed the contact details of the local Police Contact PC Maude highlighting the support she is able to give as the dedicated officer. We were also giving out crime prevention advice to students.

“At no time did we enter any students flat without consent and all interaction was captured on body worn video.

“Some of the recent issues we have seen relate to large gatherings or parties which are in breach of the current Coronavirus regulations. It is vital that people stick to the restrictions to keep themselves and the wider community safe.”

A University of Leeds spokesperson said: “We are aware of claims made about police officers at our Lupton Residences on Monday afternoon. They did not – and do not – have keys to students’ flats.

“Officers were on site to give friendly advice to students about keeping safe, following lockdown rules, avoiding complaints by fellow students or members of the community and, ultimately, avoiding fines.

“In the light of some of the concerns raised by students and their representatives, we have made clear that officers should only be on our sites when their attendance has been requested or when they have police business.”

Leeds University Union Community Officer Lottie Morton said: “We were contacted by students with reports of a police presence at University residences on Monday afternoon, and we were extremely worried by claims that police officers were able to access students’ accommodation.

“We asked that the incident was looked into urgently , as we find [it] unacceptable that the police should be given invasive access to students’ homes during a national lockdown.

“We have been told that the University had agreed that the police could visit halls grounds to have educational, preventative conversations with students about the lockdown regulations, but not to enter buildings.

“It was found that although police were given access to accommodation blocks, they were not in possession of keys and still do not hold any keys to student flats.”

Residential services have asked the police not to return to university residences unless on a police business / emergency.”

Updated: A previous version of this article said the police are investigating the incident. The police are not investigating the incident.

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