University of Portsmouth student branded 'stupid' for organising street party
A UNIVERSITY student was branded ‘stupid’ by his counterparts for organising a street rave – and now faces a court date and possible expulsion.
As reported, police were forced to break up a street party of more than 50 people at Margaret Rule Halls, in Isambard Brunel Road at 12.46am on Friday before returning two hours later to disperse revellers after the party spilled out onto the road.
University of Portsmouth students were seen ‘screaming’ and ‘running from the scene’ as chaos erupted in the city centre.
The 19-year-old organiser, who has been suspended, has now been issued with a court summons and is facing a fine, police have said.
A number of others are in the process of being suspended due to breaching self-isolation rules while police continue the hunt to find others involved.
Students from Margaret Rule Halls said they had little sympathy for those involved.
Sam Cotton, 18, said: ‘I was in bed and was woken up to sirens and screaming.
‘I saw people running away from the police when I looked out the window.
‘Considering there is Covid it was stupid – I would never have got involved in that. I see my family a lot and would not want to take it back to them.’
Another student said: ‘It was silly to do it and I feel a bit bad they’ve been suspended but it was their actions that led to it.’
A resident, 19, who was awoken by the commotion, said: ‘I saw about 50 people running and screaming after the police turned up.
‘I wouldn’t go to a party. I have no sympathy for those suspended.’
Others thought that only the organiser should face sanctions while some thought the reaction was heavy-handed.
‘It wasn’t anything too bad,’ one student said. ‘People were dancing in a circle with one person going in the middle with music playing on a small Bluetooth speaker.’
Videos of the party - a stone’s throw from the city police station and council offices - were shared across social media.
Police have been reviewing body-worn video footage and working with the University of Portsmouth to identify those who attended.
Police have reported the organiser for:
Contravening the requirement not to hold, or be involved in holding, a gathering of more than 30 people in a dwelling Contravening requirement to not participate in a gathering of more than six people
Chief Inspector Rob Mitchell said: ‘We would like to remind people that officers have the power to issue £10,000 fines to the organisers of large gatherings, and people attending can be fined £200 for a first offence.
‘The amount of the fine is determined depending on the evidence.
‘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 this is a reminder that we will take action.’
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, Professor Graham Galbraith said: ‘I want to be clear that any student found to have broken the laws in place will face swift disciplinary action by the university as well as any fines that may be issued by the police.
‘The restrictions in place are there for the protection of all. We must play our part in the university and city community by adhering them.’