Police Scotland and the University have issued apparently contradictory statements about police presence on Raisin Weekend.
Police presence on Raisin Weekend is to be “greater than ever before” Lorna Milne, Proctor of the University, has warned in an email to students.
However, The Saint has learned that Police Scotland expect that, “the police presence will be much the same as previous as on Raisin Weekends.”
Raisin Weekend, a two-day academic family tradition is set to kick off this Sunday, October 16. The festivities, which include heavy alcohol consumption, historically cause complaints from townspeople and others not participating.
Professor Milne also warned that, “Any anti-social behaviour will be met by a firmer and less tolerant response than may have been the case in years past.”
In 2013, Professor Milne threatened to withdraw university support for Raisin Sunday due to “disgraceful” conduct that included violence, damage to town property, and nuisance behaviour.
Continuing, the email stated, “This broader policing profile is fully supported by the University and the Students’ Association. The University will be working very closely with Police Scotland and we will be sharing information. Where appropriate, University disciplinary processes will follow any reports we receive from the Police.
“Last year on Raisin Sunday, some of our students placed themselves and others in serious danger due to the effects of alcohol. We also saw a number of incidents involving noise nuisance and degrading conduct in the streets of the town.
“This year, please remember that we expect responsible behaviour from all our students at all times, and that we regard public misconduct, hazing and abuse of alcohol as completely unacceptable.
“Raisin belongs to you, but its consequences affect a much wider constituency. We are privileged to share this town with people who deserve respect and consideration every day of the year, including Raisin Sunday. In addition, I don’t want you to be dangerously ill, and I don’t want you to have a criminal record.
“The way you celebrate on Sunday is a matter of personal choice. Please make the right one.”
Police Scotland has also issued a statement encouraging safety and responsibility on Raisin Sunday, which was emailed to students on Tuesday afternoon. Though it struck a positive tone, the release warned of a no tolerance policy for “noise nuisance, anti-social behaviour, and drinking in the streets.”
The statement continued, “Officers are also warning students not to remove other people’s property for the purpose of the celebrations. This will be dealt with in the same way as any other theft.”
Inspector Nicola Black of St Andrews police station said: “The majority of those taking part in Raisin Weekend will act in a responsible manner.
“However the behaviour of a small number can negatively impact on the reputation of the town’s students and I want to make it clear that noise nuisance, anti-social behaviour and drinking in the streets will not be tolerated.
“We work closely with the University and we would like to remind students that should they come to the attention of the police this could negatively impact on their university career.
“We also want to emphasise to the students the need to be safe, encouraging them to look after each other and not place themselves, or their friends, in danger.
“I’d advise them to stick with their friends, know in advance how they are getting home and not to leave venues with strangers.”