Students Launch CCTV Petition for Parkwood

The parkwood path was closed last year after a student was sexually assaulted. Photo: The Tab

The parkwood path was closed last year after a student was ‘seriously sexually assaulted’. Photo: The Tab

A student from Kent that has launched an online petition for CCTV on the Parkwood Path to be installed, following a spate of recent assaults and one attempted armed assault, has gained over 1,000 signatures in support of it.

Samuel Betz, initiator of the CCTV petition. Photo: Sam Betz

Samuel Betz, initiator of the CCTV petition. Photo: Sam Betz

Samuel Betz, a 21-year-old Politics student at the Canterbury campus, has gained over 1,000 signatures on his petition that was launched on Friday on the change.org website. Speaking to InQuire, Mr Betz said that he was “sick of seeing stories in media and on Facebook…about incidents and attacks on Parkwood path” and has thus launched the petition as it is “an issue that needs to be addressed.”

Students have responded to the petition en masse, with many saying they feel ‘unsafe’ when walking along the path at night. Omega House, Humanities Faculty Rep, said that “students deserve the very basic right of safety and security against harm on their own campus”, whilst Keiren Morrell, Website Editor of KTV, said “it’s very clear that the issue of a lack of surveillance has hindered the safety of students.” Last years’ Women’s Officer for Kent Union, Beth Taylor, said that “it’s time they actually review the safety measures on campus instead of trying to pretend nothing happens.”

Tobi Williams, President of Parkwood Student Committee, told InQuire that he believed it to be an “absolute shambles” that no CCTV was currently in place, and that Parkwood Student Committee will be “trying our upmost to secure more CCTV for Parkwood”. He thanked Mr Betz, saying he “deserves to be commended.”

Police closed the pathway near the Sports Centre earlier this month after a reported assault. Picture: Spotted at Kent

Police closed the pathway near the Sports Centre earlier this month after a reported assault. Picture: Spotted at Kent

Late in 2013, Kent Union passed policy at one of the democracy Zones that it would investigate the security in Parkwood and thus “lobby the university to improve security measures in Parkwood” however with a recent attempted armed assault being reported by The Tab, and a police investigation into a reported assault earlier this month, a number of students have questioned what has been done to improve these security measures.

Incidences of sexual harrassment, assault and crime have been reported numerous times over the last few years by various sources. The Tab reported in December 2013 of a female being seriously assaulted, resulting in the parkwood path being cornered off whilst an investigation took place, as well as a male being ‘assaulted with a hammer‘ in the same month.

Responding to the overwhelming support of his petition, Mr Betz said it was now something the University “cannot ignore. Students clearly do not feel safe in this part of campus, and that needs to change.

Tammy Naidoo, President of Kent Union, issued a statement saying she recognised that it was an “important issue to students, and both the Union and the University are committed to ensuring that students to feel safe on campus at all times.” She continued by saying that she had met with the University to “discuss the petition and the safety welfare provisions on campus. They have confirmed that there is already CCTV on campus including the area mentioned in the petition. However they do recognise that more could be done to improve the communication of the personal safety and security services that the University provides.”

She added that “The University has its own 24 hour Security Service on site, trained staff, night time escort services, free personal alarms and CCTV camera surveillance. Also the Union has successfully lobbied for a 24 hour night bus, and has a preferred taxi service. We have a Safety on Campus page with links to the night bus service, campus watch and taxi numbers.”

If you wish to lend your voice into petitioning the University to install additional CCTV on the Parkwood Path, you can sign the petition by clicking here.

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