University of Sheffield spends nearly £100,000 on police officers to protect students
Two officers help to protect students on campus
The University of Sheffield spends £95,000 a year on campus police officers to help protect students, a study by The Times has revealed.
The money covers the cost of two police officers, who in turn help to patrol campuses and student areas, as well as wider community programmes, The Times have revealed.
On top of the £95,000, the cost is said to rise by £13,000 at the start of the academic year to cover "additional operating costs".
The University of Sheffield is one of five universities to start paying for police protection in the last year, with the university beginning funding last January. Durham have also recently begun police funding, and have opted to contribute £35,000 a year for the next three years.
The police officers are not employed by the university, and must report to a Chief Constable.
The data, which was obtained by The Times under the freedom of information laws, shows that 27 universities in the UK pay local police forces to help protect students.
Over the past three years, university spending on police officers has increased to more than £2 million, with a further £1.2 million expected to be spent this academic year.
It comes as students are believed to be at a greater risk of crime, especially those in highly populated areas and buildings. Students are most likely to be affected be robbery, burglary, violence, and sex offences, The Times reports.
Police numbers across the country have fallen over recent years due to cuts, and some critics believe this could cause tension between the local community and the student community as the university holds on to officers whilst numbers fall in local neighbourhoods.
Richard Yates, Head of Security at the University of Sheffield, said: "The University of Sheffield welcomed two dedicated police officers, who are fully funded by the University, last January. This was a proactive step taken by the University to enhance the safety of our students and staff and provide increased visibility and reassurance to ensure our community feels safe.
"Our decision to employ police officers was made in liaison with our Students' Union and we have received positive feedback from students. As they are police officers, they have powers that extend beyond those of our Security Services and have been valuable in ensuring crime can be investigated promptly through strengthened links with South Yorkshire Police. They also play a vital role in patrolling our campus and supporting crime reduction initiatives such as Crime Reduction and Safety Fortnight."