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GMP raid Manchester uni halls issuing multiple £800 fines to students in common room

‘People were traumatised by it, we were literally just having dinner with friends’

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ISmitheman / Twitter

Police have handed out multiple £800 fines to students in Fallowfield for allegedly holding a ‘large gathering’ in their common room. 

Officers entered halls of residence twice over the weekend in south Manchester to question students over their socialising. 

Furious parents and students have accused Greater Manchester Police of heavy-handed tactics facilitated by the University of Manchester, the MEN reveals. 

Students say police raided Owens Park halls of residence at around 11pm on Friday and 2:30am on Sunday over a potential breach of lockdown rules.

Under coronavirus law, police do not have power of entry and need a warrant to enter and search premises.

The exception to this rule is if they have ‘reasonable grounds to suspect that a person within is potentially infectious, and they need to direct or remove the person for screening and assessment’.

However, under the Manchester University’s student accommodation contracts, the uni and ‘anyone authorised’ by staff has the right to enter without prior notice.

GMP insist students who were fined showed ‘blatant disregard’ to the rules and that their ‘proactive patrols’ inside the accommodation were agreed with the uni in advance.  

One student spoke to the MEN, saying that a number of her flatmates were issued £800 fines each on Friday because more than 15 people from the same block were in the common room.

She said: “There’s four floors with up to fourteen people on each one. Each floor is your household and at the start of the year the common room was locked.

“We asked for it to be unlocked because otherwise there’s nowhere else for us to sit other than our rooms. I think when police came there was about 15 people in the common room, but they were all from our block.

“The way the building is laid out makes it impossible not to mix between floors. People are always walking between floors. And when we go to the canteen we’re all put in there together.”

She continued: “They brought us into the common room and were getting people from other floors, there must have been 25 people in the end.

“We weren’t able to social distance so it seemed to really defeat the point. They said we were all getting an £800 for being part of a large gathering.

“People were weeping.”

“It’s stupid – they’re fining us for being in a student common room. This whole accommodation doesn’t fit the regulations.

“We’re all mingled together all the time, we can’t stop that, we share everything. People were really upset.”

Students were advised not to return to campus this term unless their course required face-to-face teaching like medicine, due to the latest national lockdown. One student estimated that around 70% of students did return.

The University of Manchester outlined its policy saying: “If you are living in a flat then this is considered to be a household. If you are living in halls that are corridor based then we have identified rooms (maximum of 15) that will be designated as a household and you will be required to ensure that you use the facilities which are for your household only.

“Any government guidance for households will apply in all cases.”

Students say they feel the issue did not require the involvement of the police.

ISmitheman / Twitter

One student said: “We got an email last week reminding us about parties. But nothing about the household rules and using the common room. It’s so disproportionate the force they applied.

“Today they knocked on my bedroom door at 2 in the morning when I was asleep. They said it was just to chase up some details about the night before.

“It’s awful, who’s letting them do this? I haven’t seen a Uni security guard this whole time, it’s just hordes of police.

“They turn up in a van with 10 to 15 of them and storm in at once and scare everyone to death. Surely campus security could have handled this?”

Another student added: “People were traumatised by it, we were literally just having dinner with friends.

“The police just wouldn’t understand. They said we shouldn’t be at uni in the first place and that we weren’t supposed to use the common rooms.

“It’s like walking into someone’s house, it wouldn’t happen in a normal household outside uni. It’s just cruel.

“Everyone is just terrified now and no one is leaving their rooms – we don’t know when police might come back.”

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Manchester’s George Floyd mural has been defaced with racist graffiti once again

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@JonConnorLyons / Twitter

The mural of George Floyd in the Northern Quarter has been defaced with racist graffiti once again.

A local councillor took to social media to share the news, slamming the ‘racist cowards’ who vandalised the artwork overnight.

The tribute was created by graffiti artist Akse P19 in Stevenson Square after Mr Floyd’s death sparked protests across the world.

Akse recently had to repaint the mural after it was defaced earlier this month. Around the same time two men were also arrested after filming themselves urinating on the artwork.

Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons, representing Piccadilly ward on Manchester city council, took to Twitter to share the news that once again the mural has been hit by a ‘racist vandal’.

The incident occurred at around 5.30am this morning, with a suspect spotted by CCTV operators before being chased and caught by police.

Mr Lyons took to Twitter to share the news, writing: “Earlier this morning, police officers gave chase to another racist vandal who decided to come in the dead of night to attack the George Floyd memorial.

“The man was spotted on CCTV & was chased by police through the city centre & was caught. Thank you to GMP for their vigilance!”

He added in a later tweet: “These racist vandals all come in the dead of night – they are cowards.

“They know themselves how shameful it is what they are doing, attacking a memorial of a man killed by police brutality, but obviously have to do it in the dead of night. Racist cowards the lot of them.”

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Face masks and Covid tests for school kids won’t be ‘compulsory’

The guidance on masks and tests won’t be enforceable

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News broke earlier in the week that secondary school students would have to wear face masks and take twice-weekly Covid tests when they return to classrooms from March 8th.

It’s now been confirmed that neither of these measures will be enforceable, with schools told they won’t actually be able to make students wear a mask.

This is despite the government saying that secondary school pupils would need to wear them, both in classrooms and in the corridor.

However, according to the finer details of the ‘operational guidance’ for schools, ‘no pupil should be denied education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.’



While before Christmas a lot of secondary school and college students were wearing masks in corridors and communal areas, the ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ revealed this was being expanded so kids would have to wear them in classrooms too.

The official document states: “The government also recommends that the use of face coverings in Higher Education, Further Education and secondary schools is extended for a limited period to all indoor environments – including classrooms – unless 2m social distancing can be maintained.

“Face coverings are now also recommended in early years and primary schools for staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible, for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas.

“All children will once again be expected to attend school, as they were in the autumn term.”

The move had divided opinion among parents, with some saying they might keep their kids off school if they’re forced to wear masks, while others said they were in favour of it.



As well as face masks, it’s now been revealed that the twice-weekly Covid tests secondary students were meant to be taking are also ‘not compulsory’.

Education minister Nick Gibb confirmed that testing will be voluntary for pupils, saying that it remains ‘highly recommended’ to do so, however.

Mr Gibb added that it will not be a case of ‘no test, no school’, also clarifying that face masks will not be compulsory in schools, even though the government strongly advises pupils to use them.

He told Good Morning Britain: “No, they’re not compulsory but we highly recommend it, it’s everybody doing everything we can to identify asymptomatic cases of Covid, helping to reduce the transmission.

“The first three tests will be taken in the school that will show the students how to do it most effectively and it’s the students themselves that will do it at home with supervision by their parents.”

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The UK’s Covid-19 alert level has been downgraded

‘It is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines’

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Evelyn Simak / Geograph

Following the threat of the NHS being overwhelmed receding, the Covid alert level in the UK has been downgraded.

According to the UK’s chief medical officers, the alert level should move from 5 to 4, Sky News reports.

This is because the numbers of patients in hospital are ‘consistently declining and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded’.

Under Level 5, there was ‘a risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed’, while under Level 4 transmission of coronavirus is now ‘high or rising exponentially’ – so there’s still a way to go.

The four UK chief medical officers and NHS England’s national medical director said in a joint statement that they agreed the alert level should be downgraded.

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This follows advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, but is also ‘in light of the most recent data’.

They added: “The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer.

“However, for the time being, it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

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