Security Services role in university residences

Our University Security Services are here to keep our staff and students safe across campus. They are university staff and part of the wider team who support students in residences.

Security Services operates 24/7 365 days a year across the entire campus. As the University continues to address unprecedented challenge and transformation, the security strategy will be to ensure staff, students and visitors are provided with a comprehensive security service enabling teaching, learning, living and recreation to take place in a safe and secure environment.

We are committed to be a place where everyone feels safe, welcomed and respected. To support this we have introduced body worn cameras to protect students and staff and help us build a stronger and safer community.

We have been clear about the behaviours we expect from our community during the pandemic.

Security Services play an important role in ensuring students:

  • adhere to these expectations and follow our COVID-19 safety measures
  • follow government regulations and guidance.

Our relationship with our students

As Security Services we will:

  • Treat you with respect and communicate appropriately.
  • Be your first point of contact in case of a security-related incident or emergency.
  • Be mindful of mental health issues.
  • Will not direct you to do something without good reason.
  • Take all complaints against us seriously and will conduct follow up investigation to seek a resolution.
  • Will listen to reasonable explanation and your point of view if you are involved in any particular incident.

As a student we expect you to:

  • Be respectful and courteous to your security team – remember the security team are people too, with friends and families that they are worried about.
  • Do what Security Officers ask you to, calmly and without argument. If you are not able to reach an agreement at the time, it’s much better to do as requested to avoid a heated situation.
    You can always consider submitting a complaint afterwards. All officers have a collar number which you can refer to.
  • Be polite and respectful when they are called out to assist at an incident and provide them with the information that they need, if you can.
  • Show your University ID if they ask to see it.
  • Be respectful to local community neighbours and behave responsibly, particularly regarding noise late at night.

What Security Services can do:

  • Require a student to show them their University of Bristol ID badge
  • Enter accommodation to (not the full list)
    • investigate a complaint
    • respond to a medical emergency
    • prevent, or investigate the suspicion of, criminal activity
    • prevent or investigate a health and safety breach for example a lighted candle or covered smoke detector
  • Give the details of a student who is suspected of a breach of the local rules or the student disciplinary regulations, to the relevant UoB manager for the imposition of a fine or other penalty under our disciplinary regulation
  • The power to impose fines for breaches of the local rules or disciplinary regulations in relation to Covid law and guidance has been delegated to Security Services for the 2020-21 academic year
  • Impose fines on behalf of the Residential Life team
  • Disperse social gatherings which do not comply with COVID-19 regulations.
  • Record incidents involving students and/or members of the public through body worn cameras and CCTV.

In an emergency:

  • Enter the accommodation as reasonably required by the circumstances giving rise to the emergency

What Security Services can't do:

  • Enter bedrooms unless there is threat to the occupant's well-being or there is suspicion of criminality
  • Enter bedrooms without being accompanied by another Officer and/or a Senior Resident/member of the Residential Life team or other authorised University staff
  • Grounds for suspicion of criminal activity could include:
    • reports from other students
    • complaints from local communities
    • observation of suspicious activity by security officers during routine foot patrol

Security will dynamically risk assess and may not enter if students are listed as coronavirus positive or are self isolating.

During COVID-19 we will:

  • Work to keep our community safe and ensure everyone is following our COVID-safety regulations and the latest government guidance.
  • Wear face coverings, and maintain social distancing if entering your personal living space.
  • Will understand if you are not wearing a face covering because you are wearing a mask exempt lanyard.
  • Respect your living circle and understand that you may have more than six people in it.
  • Issue on the spot fines if you aren’t following the rules and don’t then follow their request that you do. Fines are:
    • £100 for attending a gathering which breaches COVID guidelines.
    • £250 for organising/hosting a gathering which breaches COVID guidelines.

How Security Services operate in residences

Looking after student welfare and wellbeing is an integral part of Security Officer roles. They are present at main University residences 24/7 365 days a year. This enables them to deal with instances of crime, drugs misuse, alcohol intoxication, or noise in a professional and timely manner.

Security Officers:

  • provide help to students out of hours with issues such as: noise pollution, enforcement of the University Drugs policy. Read our statement on Drug and alcohol harm reduction.
  • patrol to provide a safe and secure environment in and around student accommodation.
  • observe and detain people who have committed crime. Preserve crime scenes appropriately without contamination.

First point of contact

Officers on the ground are the first point of contact for staff and students with security-related incidents, emergencies or adverse events. 

  • They are trained to deal professionally with victims of crime.
  • They provide relevant parties and the emergency services with all the relevant information.
  • Individual victims of alcohol or drug misuse are handled appropriately. Special care is given to students who have underlying mental health issues.
  • Fire alarms:
    • During working hours. Assist in fire searches, building evacuation and liaise with Fire Marshalls and facilities/maintenance staff.
    • Out of hours. Working in partnership with other university teams to control sites, manage effective evacuation, and fire search/alarm resolution.


Security Officers are required to analyse, record and document all incidents as and when they happen. They provide this information to Control Room operators who create incident reports. Officers conduct security investigations where necessary to ensure accurate reporting of incidents and the preservation of evidence.

How to make a complaint

If you are concerned about an incident involving your interaction with a member of the security team you can:

If you break the rules

The Head of Student Residential Life, Head of Residential Life, Deputy Head of Residential Life or their nominee are authorised to impose a penalty (s.3.2 (b) Student Disciplinary Regulations).

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