Arrests made after assault during student protest at Warwick University

Warwick University Flags
Warwick University Flags

Police were called to Warwick University yesterday after a member of security staff was allegedly assaulted during a student protest against fees yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

Three people were arrested from the site, one on suspicion of assault and two others on suspicion of obstructing police.

The University has said it is supporting the police’s subsequent investigation but some students have claimed officers were heavy handed and have posted videos of part of the incident on Youtube. West Midlands Police have said: “Police were called to reports of an assault at the University of Warwick Central Campus in Coventry yesterday afternoon (3 December).

“Officers arrived at Senate House at 4.50pm to find a group of around 25 students protesting about fees and a staff member reported that he had been assaulted by one of the group.

“Three people were arrested from the site, one on suspicion of assault and two others on suspicion of obstructing police.

“During the incident a taser was drawn as a visible and audible warning to prevent a further disorder. The taser was not pointed at anyone and was not fired.

“CS Spray was also used by police during the protest when a group advanced on officers.

Coventry Police Commander Chief Supt Claire Bell, said: “Police officers are highly trained in dealing with all public order situations and using appropriate levels of force. Police officers and security staff from the university worked together to ensure everyone was safe.

“We are aware of videos of the protest being circulated on social media sites. We expect the highest standards from all officers, and if any officer is found to have fallen below these standards, they will be thoroughly investigated.”

The university has said the police were called as a result of the reported assault and not because of the protest.

It has said the security team were on hand to help facilitate “what was expected would be the usual peaceful and safe demonstration”.

A statement from the university says: “However this was not forthcoming and the police were then met by significant resistance and had to face a very challenging situation which they were obliged to respond to and resolve. The matter is now in hands of the police.

The Police were not called as a result of a peaceful protest on campus, but were responding to an alleged assault on a member of staff. The University intends to co-operate fully with the police investigation.

“Warwick has a decades long history of co-operation between protestors and the security team to ensure that we can facilitate peaceful and safe protests on our campus. We are sure that the vast majority of those members of our University community seeking to mount demonstrations on our campus continue to want those protests to be peaceful and safe for all and will share our hope that this unprovoked act of violence against our security team is an aberration.”

Students have planned a further protest today with the university’s Student Union appealing for it to remain peaceful.