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I am writing to you in your capacity as Editor of SCAN newspaper and in particular the recent edition which featured a student drama group using an imitation firearm as a ‘prop’ to add authenticity to a film they were making on campus. I would like to point out the following facts:
- The filming event performed by Against the Wall productions was not authorised by myself or any member of staff at the university.
- Permission was granted for several other film shoots to take place between 22nd April and 15th May. Following a Risk Assessment process and meeting with the Police several strict conditions were laid out and agreed. One of these was that any scene involving a replica firearm was only to take place indoors or in specified, thinly populated areas on campus. Any variations to these locations contained in a schedule were to be communicated back by the group to Security and the Police when a renewed decision to permit or otherwise would have been taken.
- Lancaster Police have a log to show that they had been advised by the group that filming was to take place on campus involving the use of a replica firearm on the 17th May. No call was made to the Security Reception to warn about this event taking place.
- Despite assurance being made in another condition that ‘adequate’ signs were to be displayed by the group in prominent positions advising and reassuring campus onlookers what was happeningthis was not properly carried out.
- Upon receiving a call from a member of the University Community the Security Receptionist on duty acted correctly by immediately contacting Lancaster Police and a patrol was deployed. It is normal for the Police to attend reports of this kind to be completely satisfied that all is in order.
- A member of the Security Staff attended the scene and spoke to members of the group within two minutes. At this time he was unaware of information he had read in the Security Reception informing Security staff about the series of scheduled filming events by students on campus and spread across a range of dates. He therefore made the connection en route.
- Within four minutes the Police had been cancelled prior to attending the University.
- Staff of local businesses in Alex Square, including the caller’s premises were personally visited by Security Staff and quickly reassured by informing them about what was happening.
- Later the same day I received an apology from Against the Wall Productions for the standards of safety precautions carried out by the group.
- The first time details of this event appeared in writing was on the 27th May in an updated schedule of proposed ‘film shoots.’ This was eleven days after the event took place. Had the request been made in a timely manner and in advance my response and no doubt that of the police would have been to refuse permission.
In all cases of this type an opportunity has been taken to review practices and changes are being considered. I would like to reassure SCAN readers that all calls involving the use or potential use of firearms or weapons of any description are taken very seriously.
“ACTING” Head of Security