Student bags searched as Bod tightens security

first_imgSecurity has been tightenedacross the University following the attacks by animal rights extremists overthe summer. Visitors to the Radcliffe Camera(Rad Cam) now have to have their bags checked by members of the security staffon their way into the library as well as on their way out. The new measure wasintroduced last week. A sign near the entrance of the Rad Cam reads, “Bags willbe searched upon entry and exit of the library.”A University spokesperson said, “It[bag checking] is part of ongoing reviews of security across the University.The University carries outregular reviews in light of latest advice from the University Martial and thePolice. Security has always been important but it is particularly so right nowin view of the increased threat from animal rights extremism.”The spokesperson emphasised that “TheUniversity of Oxford takes security of its staff and students as well as itspremises seriously.” The Rad Cam fulfils its architect James Gibbs’ intention,namely that it be “a publick [sic] building seen by all sorts of people whocome to Oxfordfrom all parts of the world.” The building has become a readily recognisablesymbol of Oxfordboth nationally and internationally.One internet site,,uses the word “iconic” to describe the Rad Cam. A member of staff from theRadcliffe Science Library, which is the University’s main science referencelibrary said, “We’ve only just been informed about the new security measures introducedat the Rad Cam. I suspect they’re very concerned about security because the RadCam is such a symbol of Oxfordand so would probably be a prime target for animal rights extremists.” The person added, “We [theRadcliffe Science Library] and other libraries across the University willprobably follow Rad Cam’s lead and look at measures to improve security.”Arielle Goodley, a student,commented, “I think checking bags at the entrance of Rad Cam is a good idea. Itonly takes about two seconds and it makes things safer.” Another student disagreed. “It’sall a bit of a hassle. I’m a smoker and every time I need a fag I need to gooutside then come back in, so I’ll have to get my bag checked several times oneach visit. It gets annoying after a while.” A spokesperson from the Ashmolean Museum, another part of the Universitythat is also a major tourist attraction, said, “We do take security seriouslyespecially given increased threat from animal rights extremists and terroristattacks. “We do not currently check bagsand I see no prospect of doing so for every visitor on their way in. We didn’tdo that even in the days of the IRA. We’ll of course constantly keep an eye onthe matter, but we have no plans at the moment of introducing bag-checking.” A spokesperson from the ThamesValley Police said, “We’d support any organization who wishes to increase theirsecurity for whatever purpose – whether it is in response to increased threatof terrorist attacks or animal rights extremism. It’s always a good thing to bemore vigilant, more alert and to take security issues more seriously.“We’d back any measures thatwould increase the safety of students, members of staff and the public ingeneral and prevent disruptions and tragedies from happening.”ARCHIVE: 2nd week MT 2005last_img read more