Armed police arrived on campus at around 7 p.m. this evening (5 March), allegedly in response to a report of an armed man making threats. The police, who appeared to be specialist firearms officers (SFOs), were seen by students entering an East Slope residence building after four police cars pulled up outside Amberly. A student was subsequently arrested.

The armed police response is warranted where there is reasonable suspicion of threat to life or of weapons possession. Witnesses at the scene report hearing that a student threatened his flatmates after an argument about Israel and Palestine escalated.

In a statement prior to the arrest, Sussex Police said: “Police were called to the University of Sussex campus in Brighton just after 6.30 p.m. this evening following a report of a man in possession of a firearm making threats to kill.” It was later reported that no firearm was found.

This is the second time within a month that armed police have been seen on campus, with an incident on 7 February worrying students. 

A University of Sussex spokesperson said on 6 March: “There was an incident yesterday evening and police were called to the campus. This is now a matter for the police and it would it be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage.” 

On 7 March, comments attributed to Professor David Ruebain, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Culture, Equality and Inclusion, began circulating in student groups. These stated that the arrested person was an international student studying a foundation year at the University of Sussex, and that both the police and immigration are involved in the case. It has been suggested that the student may not return to Sussex following this investigation. The Badger is currently checking the veracity of these claims.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sasha Roseneil sent a message to all students on 8 March regarding “the safety and wellbeing of our community.” In the statement, she emphasised that police were onsite “within 20 minutes of a report being made to campus Security,” and thanked the security services for their work to keep students and staff safe.

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