Queen’s University students’ anti-PSNI motion withdrawn

A proposal by Queen’s University students for police to be excluded from the university campus unless there is a “real threat” was withdrawn last night.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 7:15 am
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 9:27 am
UUP councillor Alexander Redpath

The motion, due to come before the Student Council last night, was pulled just hours before the meeting, the News Letter understands.

It came after some students said they felt “intimidated” by the PSNI, with claims that there had been a “unnecessary heavy police presence” at the university during a number of student led protests.

The motion proposed: “Student officers create an agreed policy with the university to ensure police are only called onto campus as a last resort when there is a real risk of threat or attack to student and staff safety on campus.”

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Ulster Unionist Councillor Alexander Redpath, a former chairman of QUB Student Council, said the motion was “dangerous and offensive”, and warned it had the potential to put students at risk.

“I am glad that this motion has been withdrawn. Clearly once it became apparent that there would be wide spread condemnation of this motion the proposers got cold feed,” he added.

Mr Redpath said there was a “clear republican influence” behind the motion, adding: “There can be no return to the days of ‘no go’ areas.

“The people behind this motion are clearly living on a different planet to the rest of us.

“It is symptomatic of the looney leftist agenda which has become all too prevalent in campuses across the United Kingdom.”

Dismissing the claims that students felt intimidated by the PSNI as “utter rubbish”, the Lisburn and Castlereagh councillor added: “During my extensive experience in Queen’s Students’ Union is something I never encountered.

“The motion suggested that this is particularly true of students who have been the victims of hate crime. This is a vile and groundless slur against the PSNI.

“What I find most astonishing is that this motion appeared to have been motivated by the PSNI attending the university to provide students with anti-burglary advice. This is exactly the sort of pro-active crime prevention work that the PSNI should be doing.

“I would urge the Students’ Union to work pro-actively with the PSNI to ensure the safety and security of everyone attending Queen’s University.”

The motion stated that there have been a number of student led protests at QUB where there has been an “unnecessary heavy police presence on campus”.

“Many of our students feel intimidated by police, and this is not without legitimate cause,” it added.

“This university and this Students’ Union must be a place where our students feel free from harm and harassment.”