ULU vice-president arrested at university party

A students’ union vice-president was arrested after objecting to the conduct of police officers searching for drugs at a university party.

October 2, 2013

Daniel Cooper, vice-president of the University of London Union, was at Royal Holloway, University of London, on September when police entered the building with sniffer dogs as part of an anti-drugs operation.

According to a statement from the Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance, which campaigns against government cuts to higher education funding and increased tuition fees, Mr Cooper was “wrestled” to the ground by seven members of the Surrey Police after attempting to “obstruct the search of two black students”. He was later released with a caution, the group says.

“New students were enjoying the first major night of the new term at the university campus in Egham when at least 15 officers and two sniffer dogs entered the students’ union and conducted a series of stop and searches,” the statement says.

It goes on to quote Yasin Mudey, a physics student at the university. “Black students were disproportionately singled out for searching,” he says.

According to a separate statement by sabbatical officers at the Royal Holloway Students Union, the “amount of police and the operation run by them was not approved, nor even discussed” with them. “We will be looking into this further,” it continues.

“We believe that their attendance was intimidating to our members…students’ unions should be safe spaces for students, and our relationship with our students is one of trust and adult responsibility.”

Their statement also says the union will investigate allegations that the police used “racial profiling” and “unreasonable force” during the operation.

A spokesman for Surrey Police confirmed that a number of officers and had attended the university as part of “an intelligence-led operation aimed at disrupting the supply of illegal drugs”.

It added that a 23-year-old man had been “arrested at the scene and subsequently accepted a caution for obstructing a police officer”.

A 19-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and was subsequently released on bail pending further enquiries.

“The use of stop and search is an important and effective tactic in the prevention and detection of crime,” he added.

“The powers must be used lawfully and fairly in a non-discriminatory way and random sampling is conducted periodically to ensure that this is the case. The force refutes any suggestion that such searches carried out during Friday’s operation were in any way as a result of ‘profiling’.

“Our local Safer Neighbourhood Team will continue to work very closely with the university to help keep students safe and try to ensure they do not become targets for criminals such as burglars and drug dealers.”

A spokeswoman for Royal Holloway said that the police had been invited to the union “at the request of the Student’s Union Commercial Services team”.

“The students who were searched were those who had provoked a reaction from the passive drugs dog,” she added. 

“The students who only provoked a minor reaction from the dog were not searched. No drugs were found. A person was arrested for the alleged assault of an officer and has since been released.

“Royal Holloway is one of the top 20 safest universities in England and Wales and a firm partnership between the staff, students, public and police is key to keeping our students safe.”


You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy

Participants enjoying bubble soccer

Critics call proposal for world-first professional recognition system ‘demented’