Police forces across Britain have been paid £3m by 27 universities to protect students after campuses become ‘magnet’ for thieves and drug dealers
- More than £3 million has been donated to police budgets by 27 UK universities
- Universities are giving police money in exchange for dedicated campus officers
- Some believe it shows a lack of trust from universities in police to protect them
Twenty-seven UK universities are paying police forces £3 million to protect students from criminals because they are easy targets and campuses have become a ‘magnet’ for thieves and drug dealers.
The money is being used to fund police patrols with universities like Northampton and Sheffield contributing to police budgets in exchange for protection.
The news has drawn criticism from some officers who suggest that it shows a lack of trust in policing from universities.
Northampton University has set aside the most money for police protection and will spend £775,000 over the next three years
The shocking statistics were collated from a Freedom of Information request by The Times.
Universities have paid more than £2 million to 17 police forces over the past three years and spending looks set to continue increasing rapidly.
At least £1.2 million will be spent in the present academic year alone.
Northampton University has set aside the most money for police protection and will spend £775,000 over the next three years on a sergeant and five constables to patrol its new campus.
Crime at the institution had risen to a six-year-high and the university wants to bolster police presence.
27 UK universities pay into police budgets in exchange for protection and patrols to keep students safe
The scheme sees officers patrol and contribute to community projects.
However, while they protect students they are no answerable to the university.
In the past year, at least five more universities have started paying for police officers.
This includes Sheffield, which began funding two officers last January at a cost of £95,000 and Durham which has agreed to contribute £35,000 for each of the next three years.
Other universities include Liverpool, Worcester, and De Montfort in Leicester.
Northumbria police have received more than £400,000 in the last three years from three different universities.
Students are particularly vulnerable to crime as they tend to cluster together and own high-priced items like laptops and phones.
Robbery, violence and sexual offences are the crimes most likely to affect students.
Students are particularly at risk of crime with campuses a magnet for robbery and drug dealing (FILE photo)
Four of the 27 universities contributing to police budgets were in the ten areas most affected by crime.
The scheme has proven controversial as police numbers fall while universities continue to keep dedicated officers.
Louise Haigh, the shadow minister for policing, said: ‘This is yet another example of the police, who have been shrunk to their lowest ever level, being unable to protect the public in the most basic sense.
‘Time and again we are seeing communities contributing to the cost of policing, which inevitably creates a two-tier system leaving those areas that can afford to pay with the public services we all should benefit from and our more deprived areas going without.’
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘The universities involved obviously see and value the need for campuses to be properly policed and this of course is only right. It is, however, astonishing that the government continues to ignore what is staring them in the face — the fact that we do not have enough police officers.’