A video has emerged of a student being manhandled by police on campus this week. The footage depicting events from the evening of March 25 has prompted comments from Sussex’s Students’ Union, the university and the vice chancellor.
Sussex Police released a statement on Twitter describing the events leading up to this video occurring. The statement states they were called to campus regarding a gathering of “around 60 people.” When they arrived the crowd dispersed leaving a small group which the police described as “hostile,” stating that two Police Officers had been assaulted.
The Police statement describes the person in the video as a 20 year-old woman, who had been “arrested for breaching covid regulations and refusing to provide her details as required by law,” and after a search was also suspected of a drug offence.
When two Police Officers were preoccupied with another arrest, the Police state that this woman escaped from the police car, which led to her re-apprehension. She then gave her details and was de-arrested, after Police Officers told her she would get a fine if she did not.
Sussex Police are reviewing the incident and will continue to work with the University of Sussex regarding this, “to provide reassurance that our priority remains the safety of the public, as well as that of our officers and staff.” The Statement from the police states that they use “lawful and proportionate force, as a last resort,” though the actions of the Police Officers involved are receiving criticism from the student body.
The Sussex Student’s Union released a statement on their Facebook page, on the morning of March 26 regarding the incident. They stated that they were “angry to see the recent video,” that they “had contacted university leadership” and arranged a meeting on the actions Sussex University would take in light of this.
Annie O’Connor, the Activities Officer from Sussex Students Union stated “we utterly condemn this act of police violence and continue to be concerned about the heavy police presence on campus.” O’Connor states that the Union has spoken to university management who have informed them that there is an ongoing internal investigation within Sussex police with the Police Officer involved.
O’Connor stated that the Student’s Union has created a “Know Your Rights” workshop in light of this, which takes place tomorrow afternoon. It aims to “equip students with the best knowledge possible to keep themselves safe whilst police presence is still high.” It will go through legal rights and what to do during a stop and search.
Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor for Sussex University, also sent an email to all students about the video appearing to show a “young woman of colour.” In the statement he describes the event as “very disturbing footage,” and explains he has raised “concerns at the most senior level of Sussex Police.”
A University spokesperson also stated on the matter that they were concerned “both in terms of the young woman concerned and the effect on good community relations.”
Police statement on Twitter – https://twitter.com/sussex_police/status/1375461356611239936/photo/1
Picture Credit: N Chadwick