28th May, 2020

Police announce inquiry into officers' actions at student protest

Coventry Editorial 5th Dec, 2014 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

WEST Midlands Police have confirmed there will be an inquiry into the actions of officers at the University of Warwick.

The investigation will examine the policing of a protest by the Warwick Free Education group on Wednesday afternoon (December 3) which ended in clashes between the two groups.

Video footage of the protest shows officers use CS gas on the students and tasers sparked as a visible and audible warning.

The police reaction has been widely described by students involved as ‘disproportionately violent’ and prompted a Cops Off Campus rally on the university campus yesterday (Thursday).

A spokesperson for the force said: “An inquiry is being carried out by West Midlands Police’s Professional Standards Department into the policing on Wednesday’s protest at the University of Warwick Central Campus.

“The inquiry will determine the appropriateness of the actions taken by the officers who had been called in by the university after reports of assault on a member of their security staff.

“Three men remain on bail following their arrests at the protests. One, aged 24, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a security guard, the other two – aged 19 and 24 ? were arrested on suspicion of obstructing police. All three remain on police bail while investigations continue.”

Speaking to one of the occupying students, Hattie Craig from the National Campaign Against Students and Cuts (NCAFC), she said that while the inquiry was good news, it is not enough.

She added: “On the one hand it shows that our pressure, the demonstration, the national support and the occupation has drawn attention to our cause and forced the police to review the situation.

“However, we are not confident that an internal investigation on the actions of West Midlands Police officers, conducted by West Midlands Police is enough.

“We want an independent investigation into what happened on Wednesday evening.”

This statement follows yesterday’s predominately peaceful rally and the ongoing occupation of the Chancellor’s Suite on campus.

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