Durham University has created a University Security Community Response Team (CRT) to support local Covid-19 policing.
The CRT is supporting Durham Constabulary by engaging with students, explaining to them the current local and national Covid-19 restrictions, and encouraging them to observe these. The new service began on Friday 2nd October.
They undertake pro-active patrols of student areas of the City and support in responding to incidents reported to the police. The latter service is instigated through the police, so anyone observing potential Covid-19 breaches, including large gatherings and house parties, should continue to report them via the Durham Constabulary website live chat function or by calling the 101 non-emergency number.
The University is investing over £30,000 in the service.
Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, said: “We want to do everything possible to be a responsible University; a constructive partner and good neighbour in our City and community.”
They will also draw attention to the University’s Student Pledge, which has recently been updated to reflect Covid-19 guidelines and responsibilities and is linked to its formal disciplinary process, which carries expulsion from the University as its most extreme penalty.
Mr Cook stated that a vast majority of students had responded to the Covid 19 restrictions as responsible citizens. However, when a student’s behaviour fell below the expected standards, swift and decisive action would be taken.
Inspector Jason Mole, from Durham City Police, said: “This is another example of us working with our partners to help keep everyone safe during this pandemic.”
Amanda Healy, Durham’s Director of Public Health, said: “It is vital that we all follow the current local restrictions and work together to prevent the spread of coronavirus, reduce infection rates and protect the health of everyone in County Durham.”
Alan Doig, the Vice-Chair of the City of Durham Parish Council, said he welcomed the initiative and its link to the firm and decisive disciplinary action that could follow. He urged everyone to use 101 in support of this initiative and also to use the ‘Pinpoint’ map on the Parish Council’s website which was developed in partnership with Durham Students Union as a means of mapping these issues.
More broadly, the University has introduced a ‘yellow, amber, red’ warning system for Covid-19 breaches. For more information, please see: www.durham.ac.uk/coronavirus/notices