University of Portsmouth student hit with fine after breaking Covid rules by organising illegal party

A 19-year-old student from the city’s university has been fined £200 after organising last week’s illegal party in halls of residence.

Friday, 30th October 2020, 1:28 pm
Updated Friday, 30th October 2020, 1:54 pm

The fine has been issued to the male student for breaching the ‘rule of six’ – designed to reduce the spread of Covid which is rising in Portsmouth.

The fine comes following police having to intervene and issue a dispersal order after the party of more than 50 people at Margaret Rule Halls on Isambard Brunel Road last Friday (October 23).

Officers were then called back two hours later – after reports of around 40 people continuing to party in the street.

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This is the moment students were recorded fleeing police after a halls of residence party of more than 50 people continued out onto the street. Picture taken from a video produced by The Sun newspaper.

After identifying the party organiser and reviewing the evidence the man has been hit with a £200 fine. he had been issued with a notice of summons and so could have faced a court date.

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Inspector Marcus Kennedy said: ‘We would like to remind people that we will issue fines to those who are in breach of the restrictions outlined by government to limit the spread of coronavirus.

‘We have found that this 19-year-old man breached the rule of six by organising this party and therefore he has been issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, professor Graham Galbraith, is in support of the police's action and has suspended the student pending the university's own disciplinary procedures. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Inspector Kennedy said he hoped the fine would act as a warning to others considering house parties over Halloween and in the build-up to Christmas.

He added: ‘We hope this sends a message to others who are thinking about breaching the restrictions, especially in the lead up Halloween who may be considering organising a house party.

‘Everyone has to do their bit to limit the spread of the virus. Our approach has always been to engage, explain and encourage people to act responsibly, but we won’t hesitate to use enforcement action where necessary.

‘On this occasion, enforcement action has been necessary and proportionate.

‘We will continue to work with the university so that students understand the regulations. We know that most are doing everything they can to keep one another and their community safe.’

University of Portsmouth vice-chancellor, professor Graham Galbraith, has previously threatened to ‘throw all our disciplinary procedures against students who break the rules’, and fully supported the action of the police.

Professor Galbraith said: ‘The rule of six is the law and must be followed. The vast majority of students, and our community, have complied with the law so there is no excuse for this breach of the regulations.

‘In addition to a fine, this student has been suspended from the university pending a disciplinary procedure.’

The student could have potentially been subject to a much larger fine with government regulations stating ‘organisers and facilitators of larger gatherings of more than 30 people – such as unlicensed music events – can be subject to fines of up to £10,000’.

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