Police are targeting criminals who have 'infiltrated' University of Northampton

The Waterside Campus
The Waterside Campus

The sergeant in charge of University of Northampton's own police team has confirmed concerns around drug-dealing at the new Waterside Campus

Police sergeant Lorna Clarke has given written evidence to Northampton borough councillors about the university's move to Waterside Campus, across the river from Becket's Park.

Asked about the challenges of 1,000 students moving to the town centre campus, she highlighted illegal substances as an issue for existing residents.

She said: "My team specifically are looking to disrupt drug dealing in this area. This is not a new issue to this area, but would have increased with the move of the university.

"We are tackling this on the streets around this area but also our presence on campus means we can address this from the inside.

"We are actively targeting anyone who has infiltrated the University purely for criminal means."

It is the first open admission by Northamptonshire Police that drug dealing is a problem at Waterside Campus or in the surrounding streets.

The Chron reported comments from a former night warden who alleged that dealing of Class A drugs had been going on at St John's Hall of Residence, near Victoria Promenade.

But issues raised in public about a students at Waterside Campus - such as inconsiderate parking in Southbridge and an incident where fireworks were launched at a crowd of students - have until now not included drug dealing.

However Sergeant Clarke said she felt confident that, with police help, the arrival of the new campus would prove to be good for the town.

She said: "The easier access to the town centre means the students can access and financially support services and business there. Them now easily accessing the ‘High Street’ rather than out- of-town shopping areas, can only bring a much-needed boost to this area.

"Becket's Park has also had an increase of CCTV and lighting as a result of the move, with the ‘safe-route’ for students running up the westerly edge. During the daytime, the park also has more people using it from the students attending the site

"While there are clearly some challenges with putting this many students into a new location, I believe the wider picture as above, and with the introduction of the policing team at the university, should result in overall this move being positive."