Sheffield university revealed to be paying police to protect students

A Sheffield university is one of 25 across the country paying police to protect students amid fears they may be an easy target for criminals, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.Â
South Yorkshire PoliceSouth Yorkshire Police
South Yorkshire Police

Dedicated patrols are among the measures deployed to prevent campuses being attractive to thieves and drug dealers, according to a Freedom of Information request by The Times.

More than £2 million has been paid out to 17 police forces over the past three years by 27 universities, and at least £1.2 million is set to be spent in this academic year, The Times reports.

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At least five universities have started paying for police in the past year, including Sheffield, which began funding two officers last January at a cost of £95,000. 

Northampton University has earmarked £775,000 over the next three years for one sergeant and five constables.

Durham and Liverpool are among the campuses taking part in the project, where universities can ensure they keep a team of dedicated officers at a time when the numbers of regular neighbourhood patrols have fallen, according to The Times data.

Police budgets have reportedly decreased by 19 per cent since 2010 and the overall number of officers has fallen by around 20,000 over the same period.

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Densely-packed campuses containing valuable equipment including computers, laptops and mobile phones can be a target for thieves, and drug dealers have been reported on campuses and in other student areas.