UK police armed with Taser 'use CS gas during peaceful student protest'

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Wednesday 03 December 2014 21:20

Videos posted online today appeared to show police officers using physical force and CS gas against students at a sit-in protest against tuition fees.

The incident occurred at Senate House at the University of Warwick, with students claiming that two police officers drew Tasers in an effort to remove them from the building and claiming that around three people were arrested.

At least two videos of the incident have since been removed from YouTube by the students who filmed them on the basis of legal advice, Hattie Craig, on the national committee of NCAFC and a student at Birmingham University, told However, one of those has now been republished (see above).

The sit-in was organised by the Warwick For Free Education (WFFE) group as part of the NCAFC's day of action.

  • Students claim police used CS gas against them

But after around 30 seconds in one video the distinct clicking noise of a Taser being deployed can be heard, and at around 1min 15 secs in a police officer appeared to use CS gas against a group of the students.

West Midlands Police confirmed they dealt with an incident of "disorder" at Warwick University campus on Wednesday afternoon - parts of the campus coming under their jurisdiction and not Warwickshire Police.

On Twitter, West Midlands Police admitted that a Taser had been drawn as a warning but was not deployed.

We weren't blocking any doors, we were being very peaceful. Security started to circle around us and then police turned up. Security told us it was for a separate incident. But then police stepped in. They threw at least two people to the floor and used pepper spray.

  • 2nd year at Warwick University, speaking to

When the police came in we decided to all link arms. They came straight for us. They tore people apart. I'm pretty shaken up now. They CS gassed a few people, waving Tasers around. Just very, very violent.

The police response was in no way reflective of the protest.

  • Alice, Warwick University student, speaking to

The police response was well beyond what was necessary or proportionate to what was a completely peaceful protest.

  • Dan Goss, member of WFFE, speaking to

In a statement on Thursday evening, West Midlands Police said: "The protest at the University of Warwick Central Campus remains on-going. Three people have been arrested following reports of an assault.

"During the disorder a taser was drawn and an audible and visible warning was issued to prevent further incidents. The taser was not fired."

A further statement, issued on Twitter, added: "We are aware of a video circulating after officers attended a report of an assault during a student protest, which will be examined."

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