All our students have made a commitment during the global pandemic to themselves, their peers and the wider community under our Student Pledge.
We are proud to see that most of you have responded to the local and national Covid-19 restrictions as responsible citizens. However, for those students who do break the rules, our procedures allow us take swift and decisive action.
The following information provides answers to some frequently asked questions about our approach and in particular the role of the University Security Community Response Team, who you may encounter if you live out.
Durham University works very closely with Durham County Council, Public Health, Durham Constabulary and other partners to support compliance with Covid-19 regulations. In October 2020 we introduced a Community Response Team (CRT), formed from members of University Security staff, to support the efforts in and around Durham City. Two team members work during term time between the hours of 9.30pm and 3.30am, 7 days a week from a base at the University Security Office.
The CRT exists to support all residents living out in the wider community, both students and non-students, by responding to potential or actual breaches of Covid-19 regulations that are reported to 101. If you observe potential Covid-19 breaches, including large gatherings and house parties, please report them via the Durham Constabulary website live chat function or by calling the 101 non-emergency number. The CRT also proactively patrol student areas, providing a reassuring presence for students and members of the local community.
Out of term time, or between the hours of 3.30am and 9.30pm during term time, reports are picked up by Police University Liaison. A usual response will involve a visit to the location either at the time of the incident or very shortly thereafter. Attendances are usually recorded on body camera.
Covid-19 breaches are then reported to the University and we take appropriate additional action from there. Our action is always in addition to what the Police decide to do in line with current regulations and enforcement powers – it is never a substitute for this.
If you make a call to 101 during term time and between the hours of 9.30pm and 3.30am, 101 call handlers will contact the University Security Community Response Team who will attend the location within 30 minutes of receiving the report. Attendances are usually recorded on body camera.
The team make a formal report to our Covid-19 Breach Coordinator who then works with Colleges and Police University Liaison to ensure appropriate action is taken in line with our disciplinary procedures where students are found to be in breach of the regulations.
Members of the CRT wear a uniform and carry University ID. It’s always a good idea to ask to see the ID of someone who knocks on your door, and the CRT will be happy to show their cards when asked. The uniform is a blue and yellow high-visibility vest. If officers arrive in a vehicle, it will bear the University’s logo and Security Service number (0191 3342222). There will never just be one CRT officer. The team also wear body cameras that record any engagement they have with students.
If you are unsure about the identity of someone knocking at your door, perhaps because they are unwilling to show ID, do not let them into your property. Report any such incidents to 101. If you see someone around the city who appears to be impersonating a CRT officer, do not approach them. You can inform 101 and should notify University Security Services on 0191 334 2222.
The CRT’s primary function is to support student engagement, education and encouragement around Covid-19 legislation and local/national restrictions. If they attend your accommodation, it is always best to speak to them even if you feel no rules are being broken.
Remaining at a safe distance and wearing appropriate PPE, the officers will give you some printed handouts that explain the procedure during and after their visit. If a breach of Covid-19 regulations is taking place, you will be encouraged to take action to rectify the situation.
If you have returned to Durham during National Lockdown, you may be asked about your reasons for doing so and will be encouraged to stay at your term-time address.
The CRT can offer advice and information on local and national regulations. You may be encouraged to take up regular Lateral Flow Testing. You will also be reminded of the student support services that remain available to you, the Student Pledge and the University’s disciplinary procedures.
The team will record the details of anyone at the property as part of their procedures, so please assist them in this duty by being forthcoming with the information they require. All such data is confidential and is treated in accordance with GDPR guidelines.
You may receive a follow-up visit from the Police University Liaison team. If a Covid-19 breach has occurred, you are likely to receive a Police warning and, in some cases, a fine. This will be in addition to any disciplinary action taken by the University. Repeated or more serious breaches will potentially lead to more serious disciplinary action being taken by the University under our Managing Covid-19 Breaches Procedure.
In the first instance of a suspected Covid-19 breach, we will seek to speak with those involved to explain the risks of their behaviour, encourage them to observe Covid-19 legislation and guidance and remind them of their commitment to themselves, their peers and the wider community made under our Student Pledge.
If serious and intentional breaches are identified and this ‘engage, explain and encourage’ approach has not resolved the situation, we will apply our formal disciplinary process, using a graded ‘yellow, amber, red’ response system in line with the Non-Academic Misconduct Procedure.
For a first, low-level breach of regulations, a yellow warning will be issued by the student’s College.
For a second or more serious breach, an amber warning will be issued – a formal warning will be added to the student’s record and this may be accompanied by further sanctions including a fine of up to £500 or community service of up to 75 hours.
For a further breach or where serious aggravating factors are identified, a red warning will follow, with sanctions including permanent exclusion from the University.
During National Lockdown all sanctions, including exclusion from College, will be available for any breach of Covid rules.
Though every case is judged on its merits, there are several contributing factors which are considered when an amber warning is issued issued or recommended. These are:
- the nature of the restrictions in place at the time of the breach;
- the potential transmission risks resulting from the student’s actions;
- repeated failure to follow the Covid-19 regulations and / or University rules;
- previous engagement with the Police through warnings and fines;
- playing an instrumental role in organising a gathering;
- wasting Police time.
A position statement remains on our coronavirus pages:
You can revisit our regular coronavirus email updates here:
The University’s full Non-Academic Misconduct Procedure can be accessed here:
Yes, you can. As part of the evaluation of the service this term, you can now give your feedback using the CRT feedback form below.
You will be asked when your engagement with the CRT took place, so please make sure you have this information to hand before you begin filling in the form.