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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Security Policy

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The College seeks to ensure the security and safety of all Fellows, Students and Staff and all other visitors to College premises. The Porters are responsible for the operation and enforcement of the College’s Security Plan. However, all persons who study, visit, work in or reside at the College have a responsibility to assist the Porters in ensuring the success of this policy.

Access to the College

Students living in College accommodation are issued with a key to access their room. Students are responsible for safe-keeping of keys. A charge will be incurred for loss of keys. Students staying in College accommodation must return their key to the Porters Lodge before they go down each term.

Students are also issued with a programmable University card, which will allow access to College University Departments as appropriate. Students are responsible for safe-keeping of their cards. The card should never be given to anyone else to allow them entry to the College or Department. The card should be returned to the Porters Lodge upon graduation or other reason for permanently leaving the College. A charge will be incurred for a replacement card.

Security of Buildings and Rooms

The main entrance to the College locks electronically at 9.30 p.m.

Other external doors to the building and the gates at Storeys Way and Huntingdon Road lock electronically at 6.00 p.m. except during British Summer Time when they will lock at 8 p.m. They are unlocked at 6 a.m.

When the gates are locked access to College is by University card issued to a Murray Edwards student or Fellow or by contacting the Porters Lodge. [Male] visitors, who are guests of a student after [9.30 p.m.] should be accompanied whilst in the College and escorted back to the main entrance when leaving.

All College study rooms, etc (including the Froud Room and the Bar) are to be vacated and locked by the Porters by 23.00 unless special arrangements have been made with the Porters.

When security gates and doors are closed access to the College for visitors is by the Porters’ Lodge. The exception to this is that on application, other members of the University and members of the neighbourhood community with compelling need can have cards authorised to allow access to card-controlled perimeter gates.

Personal Information

Porters are aware that they are not to disclose room numbers or personal telephone numbers to visitors. Students should inform their visitors of their address and contact number at the College.

Loss of property

Students and staff are responsible for their personal property which is not covered by College insurance. Whilst staying at College, students should enquire with their parents or guardians whether their property could be included on their home insurance, otherwise they are advised to take out their own insurance. The College does not accept any responsibility for the loss or damage to any personal property, (including accidental damage by College staff).

Storage of Property

The College has limited storage space for students’ possessions out of term. Arrangements should be made with the Accommodation Manager in [x weeks] before the end of term, to ensure property is stored in compliance [with the regulations covering storage of goods]. The College does not accept any responsibility for any damage, to property stored in the College, which is left entirely at the owners risk.

Access to Student Rooms

The College respects that whilst students are in residence, their room is their home. Fellows, staff and other students should respect this right to privacy. It is however, sometimes necessary for staff to access to student rooms, for example, if contractors staff need to access the room to perform cleaning or maintenance.

Whenever practicable and reasonable, an attempt will be made to arrange a mutually convenient time, but if the matter is urgent this may not be possible. Staff who access students’ rooms as a matter of urgency will normally leave a form to advise the student that a member of staff entered their room and the reason why.

Personal Safety

Efforts are made through this policy to make the College a safe environment. However, very determined thieves and intruders can overcome the security and it is important that the following sensible precautions are taken:

  • Never leave your room unlocked, even when you are in a nearby room.

  • Safeguard your keys. Do not leave them in pigeonholes

  • Avoid leaving valuable items on view, especially in ground floor rooms.

  • Never let people into your accommodation block, unless you know them.

  • If you live on the ground floor, never leave your room without locking the windows.


Cycle theft is endemic in Cambridge. The University requires students’ bicycles to be marked with a number. Numbers are allotted by the porters and stickers issued for securing to the cycle.

Bicycles should only be left in the listed storage areas. They must not be left against the walls of the College nor in College residential buildings. There are cycle storage areas for occupants:

  • At the side of Buckingham House

  • Underneath and adjacent to the Long Room

  • At the east and west emergency exits of Old Block

  • In the Kaetsu car park

  • Along the side of the tennis courts.

  • At the rear of Canning & Eliza Building.

  • For Fellows’ cycles, adjacent to The Rectory

You are strongly advised to always lock your cycle to one of the fixed stands provided in all cycle store areas. You should also keep an accurate description of it, including the frame number.

The College cannot accept any responsibility for the loss, damage or unauthorised use of bicycles stored in the cycle areas.

The College recommends the use of key-operated ‘D’ locks, with a high manufacturer’s security rating. Other locks, particularly combination locks and wire locks offer much lower security. Students are advised to avoid high value removable components of bicycles, such as high quality saddles, high performance, easily released wheels. Removable lights should be detached when the bicycle is left unattended.

Students are strongly advised to use a helmet and comply with all the relevant legal requirements; brakes and lights should be in good working order. The Police regularly fine students caught without lights. The practice of cyclists ignoring red traffic lights is dangerous and likely to attract the attention of the Police.

Bicycles may not be ridden on College paths or taken into the College.

Visitors and Contractors

Any visitor or contractor on College business will be required to sign in at the Porters Lodge where they will be issued with a visitor’s identification badge. Badges are worn at all times whilst on College premises. On leaving the College, visitors and contractors should return to the Porters Lodge to sign out and return their identification badges.

External Assistance

In order to promote security awareness and assist in dealing with criminal incidents a Police Liaison officer has been appointed by Cambridgeshire Constabulary and he provides a presentation on security to new students in Freshers’ Week which all undergraduate Fresher’s are required to attend.

A Police Intelligence Analyst reviews all criminal activities involving the University and Colleges and provides the College with updates. The Senior Porter alerts College members as required.


Firearms (including airguns, starting pistols or imitations), ammunition, explosives or inflammable substances such as petrol may not, under any circumstances, be stored in rooms or on College premises.

Security Plan and Response


This is a general responsibility for all members of the College. The Porters control access to many areas. Vigilant staff and CCTV monitoring support this. Entrances to secure areas (Library, Accommodation Blocks, etc) should be kept closed. Students are responsible for their own rooms. Unknown persons should be questioned as to their presence inside buildings. Any student who is concerned about any aspect of security, should, in the first instance, draw it to the attention of the 5

Porters. All crimes and suspicious persons or incidents should be reported immediately to the Porters.

Reaction to a general threat

This is a non-specific threat towards the College, Cambridge or the University as a whole. When a general threat alert is issued, all areas of the College will be searched, with the aim of identifying any abnormal or unusual object which has been left within the College or nearby properties.

Details of any alert are distributed by the Bursar and his staff and then each area will be responsible for its own security sweep, reporting back to the Porters Lodge when complete. The public areas within the College and communal areas will be checked by specific individuals at the request of the Senior Porter. Persons residing within College are responsible for checking their own room.

Reaction to a specific threat

If there is a specific threat against the College, the aim is always to reduce the risk of death or injury. A specific threat will require immediate evacuation of the building or area concerned and if the threat is deemed to involve an explosive device, the procedure for dealing with a bomb threat will be followed.