Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 12:33 UK

University to fund police patrols

Police patrols at the University of Oxford
The university will fund half the cost of new police patrols

The University of Oxford is to pay a public police force to patrol its dreaming spires for the first time.

Four police community support officers from Thames Valley Police will start patrolling public places in and around the colleges from Monday.

The university is funding half the cost of the officers, about 60,000 a year.

In 2003 the university disbanded its own private police force - known as Bulldogs - which had police powers in the university precincts since 1829.

The 40 or so Bulldogs - who were recognised by their bowler hats - carried warrant cards and had powers of arrest within four miles of a college.

A university spokeswoman said that Thames Valley Police officers would only be able to walk a beat on private grounds, if first invited to do so by a particular college.

Also, the four new officers will help police major events at the university.

Thames Valley Police already employs officers on specific university beats in other areas, including Reading.

A spokeswoman for the police said the employment of new officers was in line with increased neighbourhood policing and to meet the university's growth.

Funding has been agreed for the next two years at a cost of 120,000 a year.


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