Decrease in drug-related offences in University halls

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The number of offences relating to illegal substances in University of Bristol halls of residence has decreased in the past two academic years, Epigram has found.

In 2015/16, there were 120 discipline offences relating to illegal drugs in halls of residence, whereas there were only 90 in the 2016/17 academic year. These figures were obtained from the student residences department, which began recording this information in the 2015/16 academic year.

Only one student has been served a Notice to Quit (NTQ) in their halls of residence within the past five years, whilst no students have been expelled from the University of Bristol within the same time frame for incidents relating to illegal substances.

Epigram also found that, despite no students being expelled, there have been 51 incidents regarding illegal substances were referred to the University Police Officer in the 2016/17 academic year.

Bristol students offer their response to Epigram's investigation

Responding to these statistics, James Cleaver, a second-year History student, said: 'It’s obviously impossible for the University to police everyone’s personal habits, so it is clear that the figures are not a complete representation of drug use at Bristol, which is widely accepted to be quite prevalent.

'While it is perhaps surprising that nobody has been expelled for incidents relating to drug use, and only one student has received an NTQ from halls, I like to think that the university is taking a mature and sensible approach to the realities of student life while attempting to enforce the law.'

An NTQ is used to remove a student from halls in the event of a Category D Offence, which are of a serious nature. Students are not able to appeal against an NTQ.

Lynn Robinson, Deputy Registrar at the University of Bristol, said: 'It’s encouraging to hear that student offences related to illegal drugs have dropped. We introduced new disciplinary procedures in 2016/17, in response to concerns raised by students, and have also made additional efforts to educate students about the dangers of drugs.

'Now any students found in possession of illegal drugs in halls of residence, are reported to the police. The police require first offenders to attend a Drugs Education Programme, rather than face prosecution.

'We are well aware of the risks of drug use to students’ health and wellbeing and we work hard to ensure that all students are aware of those risks and also that they are made aware of the support available to them.'

A breakdown of each halls of residence was available to Epigram, as this information is not centrally collated. To locate, retrieve and extract this information is estimated therefore to exceed the Freedom of Information appropriate limit (£450/18hrs) set out at section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act and in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limits and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Featured Image: Epigram / Anonymous


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AUTHOR

Ed Southgate

former co-Editor in Chief 2018-2019 | former Editor of Epigram Comment 2017-2018 | UoB English student 2016-19 | Twitter: @ed_southgate