University students given fines after police shut down illegal party

Police have handed out more than 50 fines to students who breached coronavirus rules with an illegal party.

The incident took place at a Cardiff Metropolitan University halls of residence despite Covid-19 regulations banning large gatherings or entering another residence outside a person’s “bubble”.

Police body-worn camera footage from Friday November 6 showed one South Wales Police officer banging on the door of the student flat but failing to gain its occupants’ attention over blaring music.

Once he and another officer are eventually let in, dozens of young people are seen standing inside and yelling and chanting until one officer shouts: “Kill the music.”

The officer wearing the body-worn camera is heard saying to students standing just inside the doorway: “Do you all live in this flat, boys?

“It’s not good enough, is it?

“You are the future of this country and you are messing it right up.”

The party then falls silent as the officer standing further inside the flat loudly states to the students: “Anyone who does not live in this flat is going to step outside one by one.

“Have your ID ready. I’m going to be taking details, course name, addresses of every individual in this flat who is currently in breach of Covid regulations.”

Under Wales’s current regulations, people must not enter each other’s homes or gardens other than in very limited circumstances, including if they are in each other’s “bubble”.

On Friday, South Wales Police said officers worked closely with Cardiff Metropolitan University to retrospectively issue 52 fixed penalty notices of £60, while inquiries are continuing in relation to another four attendees.

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Cardiff and Vale Superintendent Jason Rees said: “It is unfortunate that our officers were left with little option but to fine those who showed a flagrant disregard for the coronavirus regulations – and more importantly their own health and that of their peers and the wider community – by either hosting or attending this party.

“We know it has been a difficult time for the students who have come to study in Cardiff and that the current pandemic has had a huge impact on the experiences they would have ordinarily had here in our vibrant capital city.

“We have been very conscious and sympathetic to that fact, and we have worked closely with our local universities and the student population to help them navigate and understand the rules and to make responsible choices.

“We remain committed to policing by consent and we have done all we can to ensure enforcement is a last resort.”

A spokesman for Cardiff Met said: “We take any breach of Covid-19 regulations seriously, which is why we have worked closely with South Wales Police to reinforce the message that we all have a part to play in keeping ourselves and our community safe.

“It is disappointing that a small number of students have decided to behave in this way when the vast majority have stuck to the rules.

“The number of positive cases at Cardiff Met remains low, with fewer than 10 new cases being reported in the last seven days.

“We would like to thank the vast majority of our students for playing their part by following the guidelines on and off campus.

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“We will continue to work with and support South Wales Police to ensure our campuses and communities remain safe.”