Image: Wikimedia Commons/ Mike Peel

University of Hertfordshire promises ‘strong action’ after student disturbance

The University of Hertfordshire has warned students involved in a disturbance over the weekend that they face “strong disciplinary action”.

Videos posted on social media show a large gathering of students on the university’s College Lane campus on the evening of Saturday 31 October.

The university said it was investigating “exactly what happened”.

Fireworks were let off in the middle of the campus, and footage shows students running and screaming as they attempted not to be hit.

In one video, a firework can be seen being fired at a police car, and the bangs were described by students as “horrifying” and “crazy”.

Local residents also criticised the students, with one stating: “All those involved should be removed from their courses and sent packing… disgusting behaviour over the weekend… they do not deserve to share our town.”

One person was injured, and a man aged 20 was arrested on suspicion of affray. The arrested man, who is from London, has since been released on bail, and ordered not to return to the campus.

A spokesperson for the police said: “Police were called at around 1.30am on Sunday 1 November to the University of Hertfordshire campus, where a large gathering was taking place with reports of fireworks being thrown.

“Our officers worked to safely clear the crowd and made one arrest. We will be enforcing coronavirus regulations by issuing fines where appropriate.”

– Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Simon Mason

“Officers on scene worked to disperse the crowd in a peaceful, safe and timely manner.”

There were student reports of police officers being called to the campus at around 01:30 on Sunday in an attempt to control the students.

Armed police officers, dog units and a police helicopter were also called to assist.

Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Simon Mason added: “I would like to reassure residents that we are working closely with the university to investigate what happened and bring any offenders to justice.

“Our officers worked to safely clear the crowd and made one arrest. We will be enforcing coronavirus regulations by issuing fines where appropriate.”

The Welwyn Hatfield police also confirmed there will be additional patrols in the upcoming weekend for any fireworks-related incidents.

Quintin McKellar, Hertfordshire’s vice-chancellor, said: “We are aware of a serious incident on College Lane which took place last night. The circumstances remain unclear.

“We are working closely with Hertfordshire Constabulary who are investigating exactly what happened alongside the University’s Security and Dean of Students teams.

“The safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority and we will be taking strong disciplinary action against any students involved in last night’s events.”

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