Queen’s University SU vows to continue working with police

Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union has vowed to continue to “work closely” with the PSNI.

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 7:00 am
Queen's University, South Belfast. Picture: Diane Magill

A spokesperson for the union gave the assurance following controversy last week when a motion was submitted to the Students’ Union Council calling for police officers to be excluded from the university campus unless it is “a last resort” where there is “a very real threat” to the safety of staff or students.

The controversial motion claimed there had been an “unnecessary heavy police presence on campus” during recent student-led protests, and added that “many of our students feel intimidated by police”.

It had been due to be debated by council members last Wednesday evening, but was withdrawn from the agenda prior to the meeting, after inquiries were made by the News Letter.

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Ulster Unionist councillor Alexander Redpath, a former chair of QUB Student Council, condemned the motion as “dangerous and offensive” and claimed there was “a clear republican influence” behind it.

Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said he was “not aware of any complaints” regarding police attendance at the university and vowed that officers would continue to patrol facilities at the university, answer calls for assistance and attend events on campus.

Offering an assurance that the students’ union will continue to work with the PSNI, a QUB SU spokesperson said: “Queen’s Students’ Union works closely with the PSNI on a number of issues, particularly in relation to student welfare and student safety and we will continue to do so in the future.”

She added: “Queen’s University has over 25,000 students, all of whom are members of Queen’s Students’ Union. Any student has the right to submit motions to Student Council, which receives and debates a significant number of motions from students across the academic year. The motion referred to was submitted by two students and was later withdrawn by the students prior to the council meeting.”