& opinion


SECURITY services on campus have been heavily criticised this week for failing to improve the safety of students on campus, especially since the attack 12 days ago.

Accusations of mismanagement are being directed at Head of Security Andy Jupp, and the security crisis has re-ignited calls for a vote of no confidence in the Vice Chancellor. Seven of the 23 CCTV cameras on campus are focused around the estates car park, and eight of the remaining 16 are broken. Members of the Union have criticised Sussex House for providing extra flood-lights only for the managerial car park, behind the Hastings Building.

Over-worked security staff have reportedly been warning about the state of services around campus for years, but their calls have been ignored. An external review on the state of Sussexís security services was completed months ago, but no one has been allowed to see it.

After the serious assault on a female student, Union president Ros Hall did a night-time survey to "check out the lighting situation, the emergency phones, the CCTV on campus. We found lighting not working, paths leading to nothing and it didnít look like there was enough visible CCTV around the residences."

According to sources close to the security team, under-funding and mismanagement of the security force has led to seven of the original 14 full-time members of staff walking out due to conditions described as disgraceful. The seven full-time members of staff remaining have serious misgivings with current security policies.

Last week Alasdair Smith, the Vice-Chancellor, told The Argus newspaper security would be immediately stepped up in the wake of the attack in front of Bramber House. Security staff have been ordered to wear yellow jackets and increase patrols around campus, but with no increase in funding this has meant the dangerously overstretched team have had to ignore other important duties - such as securing empty buildings and checking fire equipment. In an interview with the badger this week, Smith admits that no extra staff have been hired since the incident, saying that staff had been told to pay attention to the areas that carry "the biggest risk."

The universityís escort service has also been heavily criticised for being impractical, and sometimes unavailable. Students need to book their escort in advance, and are encouraged to use the service in groups to save time for security.

The Student Union, still waiting to see the consultation report completed last year, believes there should be complete overhaul of security services. The report by external security experts was allegedly completed before Christmas, but repeated requests to view the document have been denied.

Now Andy Jupp says he will brief the Union President on its findings next week. He has declined a request from the badger to answer questions about security fears, deciding instead to talk to us through the university press office.

David Mooney said "this is not the first book to fall off the shelf, there are many other issues cropping up. After the Union finance, welfare and campus security situations at this university, appears a vote of no confidence in the Vice Chancellor seems to have more grounding."

Criticism of the security services has heightened further since the attack outside Bramber House 12 days ago. President Ros Hall commented "the security staff on the ground are doing what they can in a very bad situation. think the report will potentially be very damning Ė the whole of the security service needs to be overhauled.

Among those who are also afraid that the Head of Security lacks concern is the Student Unionís Womenís Officer Hannah Weisfeld. Hannah told the badger she believes the university has let women on campus down. "I think the university has failed female students if it takes a rape for them to realise there needs to be improvements. The girls I spoke to have been freaked out by the fact an attack on campus happened like this. I think a lot more needs to be done, and I just hope some good comes out of this."

The University press office said work is taking place on blacked out areas of campus, and there are proposals for more CCTV cameras, new pedestrian and cycle routes and extra maintenance work.