Skip to main content

Safety and Security Policy and Procedures


Pembroke College seeks to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the security and safety of all Fellows, Staff, Students, Visitors and Contractors, whilst within, or situated on, College premises.  The Porters are responsible for the effective operation and enforcement of the College‟s Safety and Security Policy and its procedures.  Responsibility for security and personal safety rests with all persons who study, work, reside in, or visit the College.  All members of the College community, Visitors, Guests and Contractors should assist the Porters in order to ensure the success of this Policy.

Access to the College

Every student living in College accommodation will be issued with a key to their room.  It is important both for students‟ own security and that of the College that the loss or theft of keys and/or University Card is avoided. A charge will be incurred before a new key and/or University Card is issued. Students must return keys to the Porters‟ Lodge before they go down each term.

Security of Buildings and Rooms

The main College gates are closed at around 20.00.  The smaller wicket gate remains open until 22.00 in term and out of term.  Access to the College after this time is via the wicket gate using a University Card or issued key.  The gates are re-opened at 6.00 am.

The College is very aware of security issues surrounding the College and its members and seeks to maintain a friendly and safe environment for its members.  The College, therefore, actively encourages members to take part in helping to maintain this environment.

Unfortunately, experience shows that thefts of money, books, computers and other valuables occur from time to time;  students should therefore take care to lock  rooms and close windows when not in their accommodation.  It is essential that room doors as well as front and back doors of Hostels are properly locked and NOT left on the latch.

All students when entering the College using the late night key and/or university card should: Close the door behind you (do not leave it to close by itself)

Once the main gates are closed do not allow anyone in after you; or you should at least ascertain the identity of the person following you.  If in doubt ask them to use

the entrance near to the Porter‟s Lodge.

Porters lock the Library at approximately midnight during Term and at 22.00 outside of Term. It is very important that all security gates and other doors accessed via a late key and/or University Card remain closed at all times, and that security combinations to rooms or buildings are not given to strangers or, indeed, any non-resident of the College.

Personal Information

Porters will not disclose student room numbers to visitors. Students‟ private telephone numbers will also be withheld. If the Porters are in possession of a student‟s private number, they are authorised to use it in order to inform the student that a visitor is asking for him/her at the Porters‟ Lodge.

Loss of Personal Possessions

The College cannot and does not accept responsibility for any losses.  This also includes accidental damage by College staff.  It is essential that all students insure your possessions against theft and any damage or other loss.

Access to Student Rooms

While students are in residence, their room is their home. Everybody – Staff, Fellows, and other Students – should respect this right to privacy. From time to time however, it may be necessary for a College Officer or member of staff to gain access to student rooms as a matter of urgency, whether or not they are present. For example, there might be a potential danger to people or to the fabric of the building, or people from outside the College, such as window cleaners or electrical contractors, may need to carry out approved work; or a College Officer or staff member may need access in order to perform their duties.

Whenever practicable and reasonable, information will be given in advance of the need to gain entry into the accommodation.   However, if the matter is urgent, access must be granted without undue delay. Most staff can be identified by the uniform they wear and visiting contractors are issued with identification badges.  Any person who access students‟ rooms un-announced will leave a form to advise the student that a member of staff entered their room and the reason why access was necessary.


All students will be asked to sign a Licence Agreement relating to the occupation of their room.  This will be sent to your home address before the start of the Michaelmas Term.  It is important that students read its conditions carefully, sign it and return it to the Tutorial Office. On arrival at Pembroke all students should go to the Porter‟s Lodge to collect your room key and swipe in using your university card:   at this point students will be deemed to have entered into the Agreement.

Further  information  about  occupancy  of  student  rooms  can  be  found  in  the  Student

Accommodation Handbook at


The College has limited storage space which is reserved primarily for students living abroad. International students who wish to store their possessions should apply to the College Registrar at least three weeks before they are due to leave. Please note that all stored items are left entirely at the owner‟s risk. The College will accept no responsibility or liability for any damage to any item, no matter how such damage is incurred. All items must be clearly named and dated. Items contained in plastic bags will not be accepted. No other storage is available and students are asked to be mindful of the quantity of possessions they bring to College.

Personal Safety

For the most part, the College is a relatively safe environment.  However, thefts and other intrusions do occasionally occur, and it is important that the following sensible precautions are taken:

Never leave your room unlocked, even when you are in a nearby room, toilet or shower.

Safeguard your keys.

Avoid leaving valuable items on view, especially in ground floor rooms. Never let people into your room unless you know them.

If you live on the ground floor, never leave your room without locking the windows. Always ensure that the outer door of hostels is kept locked; the same applies to staircases which have lockable outer doors.

External Assistance

In order to promote security awareness and assist in dealing with criminal incidents, a Police Liaison Officer has been appointed by Cambridge Constabulary who is available to attend incidents involving members of the College.   The local Police Liaison Officer and the Community Fire Safety Officer from the Cambridge Fire & Rescue Service provide annual presentations on security and fire safety awareness to new students as part of the Freshers‟ Week programme, which all undergraduate Freshers are required to attend.

The University publishes a useful guide to personal safety, „The Little Green Safety Book‟,

which is available on-line. See:

In addition, a Police Intelligence Analyst reviews all criminal activities involving the University and/or Colleges, and provides the College with crime statistics and photographs of alleged perpetrators and known criminals who are thought to be active in and around the University and Colleges.   The Head Porter alerts College members to crimes in and around the Colleges (i.e. cycle thefts and vehicle break-ins).


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

Security Plan and Response

There are three phases of the College‟s Safety and Security Policy:

1.  Prevention

2.  Reaction to general threat

3.  Reaction to a specific threat


This is a general responsibility for all members of the College.   Access to many areas is generally controlled by the Porters.  This is backed by vigilant staff and CCTV monitoring. Doors to staircases and hostels must be kept closed, and, where possible, locked; there should not be any opportunity for un-invited persons to enter these areas.  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 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, such as by animal rights activists.  When a general threat alert is issued, it is essential that all areas of the College be searched, with the aim of identifying any abnormal or unusual object which has been left within the College site or nearby hostels.

Details of any alert are rapidly disseminated to all concerned 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 College such as the Chapel and communal areas will be checked by the Porters.  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, e.g. information that the College or a particular building is being targeted, the aim is always to reduce the risk of death or injury.  A specific threat would 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.  The College also has a procedure for dealing with suspect packages received in the mail.

Fire Safety

Fire is probably the biggest single danger in multiple-occupancy buildings. In recent years, unsupervised or dangerous electrical equipment, whether in gyp rooms or the rooms of individual students, has caused a number of fires that could easily have led to loss of life, and  irresponsible  behaviour  involving  the  fire  detection  and  alarm  systems  has  led  to students being fined and sent out of residence. All members of College must realise the ease with which electrical equipment can catch fire under certain conditions, and must be vigilant in ensuring that their personal electrical items are safe and kept under surveillance when in use. Failure to observe the College‟s fire regulations and procedures can have potentially catastrophic consequences.    On a personal level, this means that all students should be aware of potential dangers of fire and follow these basic guidelines:

Familiarise yourself with escape routes and assembly points.

Don't leave washing to dry in fire escapes, or leave or store your personal belongings in corridors or on stairwells.

The use of Fairy Lights, candles or other naked flames is expressly forbidden.  Fire doors, (especially doors to gyp rooms), should never be wedged open or obstructed.

Gyp room doors should be closed before cooking is commenced. Never leave cooking unattended.

Cooking in your room (including the use of sandwich makers, toasters or similar) is not permitted.

Always  keep  flammable  materials  (clothes,  books,  papers  etc.)  away  from  heat sources  such as kettles,  hair tongs/straighteners, radiators, light  bulbs, and any

supplementary heating provided to students (e.g. portable radiators).

Do not hang your own voile curtains, or put wall hangings or alternative lampshades in  your  room.  They are possibly a potential fire hazard.  Those provided by the College are fire retardant and meet current fire regulations.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are fitted in communal areas to assist staff to deal with small fires.  The College views with concern any interference with fire safety equipment, which is provided and maintained for the safety of all members of the College.   This includes letting off, or tampering with, fire extinguishers (except in the event of a fire), the jamming open of fire doors, the improper use or removal of keys to emergency exits, and interference with, or improper use of, fire escapes and fire exits.  Tampering with fire safety equipment has recently become a criminal offence.

Given the potentially serious, and possibly fatal, consequences of the wilful misuse of fire equipment, severe penalties will be imposed on those found responsible for such misuse or damage, or for encouraging others in such misuse or damage.  Payment in full will be demanded for all damage caused.  Under no circumstances will a plea that alcohol or other substance misuse, reduced an individual‟s judgement be entertained as a mitigating factor. Severe penalties will also be imposed on those who infringe the regulations regarding the use of candles in College accommodation, or who, by other acts or through articles stored in their room, increase the risk of accidental fire.

Fire Detection and Alarm

All areas in College are equipped with automated fire detection and alarm equipment, which is a hard-wired system, linked to the Porters‟ Lodge. Students should be aware of the sensitivity of the fire detection system.  Leaning up against call points, unattended cooking, burnt toast, and spraying deodorant directly underneath a detector are just some of the actions that can trigger a „false‟ alarm.  Each alarm which sounds MUST be treated by all as a potential fire, and students are required to evacuate the staircase or Hostel.  Unfortunately each year Porters respond to a significant number of unwanted alarms caused by careless actions, and the College is working with students to try to reduce the number of these incidences.

Fire Escape

Each staircase has its means of escape clearly marked. It is important that escape routes, especially the open staircases of Old Court, which, in the event of a fire, can act as a chimney and speed the spread of smoke, are kept clear of flammable material, such as paper, cardboard boxes, clothing, etc. Escape routes must also be kept clear of personal property, furniture and other items. Regular inspections will be made of these areas, and disciplinary action will be taken if escape routes are blocked.

It is essential that all members of College understand the actions that need to be taken in the event of a fire alarm.  Fire instructions are provided behind the door in each student room. Everyone has a responsibility for knowing their escape routes, fire exits and fire assembly point.    Information about these is posted on notices around the College and is also given below:





Library Lawn


Library Lawn


Bowling Green


Library Lawn


Bowling Green


Bowling Green


As indicated on the Hostel noticeboard

Fire doors in the College (including doors to all student rooms) are designed to withstand smoke and fire for at least 30 minutes. If your escape route is cut off, remain behind a fire door until rescued.

Fire Alarm Tests

Weekly fire alarm tests are carried out in all College buildings and test times are posted on notice boards around the College.  Fire alarm tests are not completed during the College‟s two Quiet Periods.

Fire Drills

The Head Porter is responsible for arranging fire drills for each staircase and hostel, and a log is kept of all drills. Generally, drills will take place once during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms, although re-testing may take place if responses have been slow or incorrect (e.g. going to the wrong assembly point). ALWAYS respond promptly to fire alarms, even if you suspect it may be a false alarm, or „merely‟ a fire drill. College members and visitors have a legal duty to co-operate with College staff during fire drills.


Pembroke is not a self-catering College and the facilities on each staircase are intended for the preparation of light snacks only. Each gyp room (or mini kitchen) has a sink, microwave oven, hob and fridge. Hobs and electrical sockets in gyp rooms have been fitted with 10 minute timers as a fire prevention measure.

Cooking is allowed only in designated kitchens and gyp rooms; it is prohibited in all other rooms in College or in College Hostels because of hazards to personal and group safety, as well as the risk of damage to furnishings and fittings.

The facilities provided for students‟ use are intended for modest catering (i.e. snacks) only, and under no circumstances is large-scale cooking permitted.  The College is answerable to the City Environmental Health Department for the proper conduct of all large-scale catering taking place in the College, and legal proceedings can ensue should any breach of these stringent regulations occur.

For safety reasons, no food cooking or heating appliances other than kettles may be used in your room, and deep-frying is not permitted in gyps.   Small appliances such as toasters,

sandwich toasters, indoor grills and similar appliances may be used in gyp rooms at the user‟s own risk, provided they have been registered for use within the College and they meet applicable standards.

Electrical Safety and Fittings

Power points on staircases are of the 3-pin, 13 amp fuse variety. The following rules are intended to safeguard personal safety and prevent overloading of the supply:

The following appliances, provided they are correctly connected and are in good working condition, may be used in rooms: kettles, table lamps, radios, CD players or

similar  audio  equipment,  computers  and  related  peripheral  equipment,  clocks, television sets, hairdryers and similar styling equipment, phone chargers, shavers

and electric toothbrushes.

One multi-way extension lead may be used in each room, provided it is of the distributor block with trailing lead type and is fused. Cable reels and socket adaptors (2- or 3-way) are dangerous and must not be used.

Never attempt to force 2-pin plugs into 3-pin sockets or use any equipment that is not rated for 250 volts or for use in the UK.

Under no circumstances must anyone tamper with College electrical equipment or supply.  If in any doubt about these rules, seek advice from College Staff in the first instance.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

CCTV cameras are used in College to help safeguard the security of people and property. Cameras are strategically positioned to capture views of the main entrance and exits of the College. The live pictures are monitored and recorded by the Porters in order to detect any suspicious activity.

Warning signs are in place at the College entrance to inform staff, students, Fellows and members of the public that surveillance cameras are in operation. CCTV footage is retained for a period of 30 days and stored in a secure location.

Information derived from CCTV surveillance will only be used for security purposes, unless it leads to the discovery of an activity that no responsible authority could be reasonably expected to ignore, for example, breaches of Health and Safety rules that put others at risk.

Students have the right of access to information about themselves held on CCTV footage. To request access all students will be asked to complete a Data Access Request Form (available from the Information Officer), pay the current fee (£10) and provide evidence of your identity.


The gardeners maintain the grounds around all College buildings in a tidy, aesthetic and practical manner. The gardens, particularly those facing onto roads, are maintained to give some screening for occupants in their rooms, while minimising opportunities for the concealment of intruders. Principal pathways are maintained to provide a suitable surface for all users, including those with ambulatory problems, and the College is following an active programme to improve access to all areas. While not all paths are fully illuminated, principal routes have suitable intensity lighting to provide security to users.

Snow and Ice

Students should take particular care during snowy periods that their actions do not cause a hazard for others. Hence, creating ice slides on roadways or steps, or making and using snowballs containing gravel from the paths should be avoided. Please take extra care around the Courts during wet or icy weather, as the York stone can become slippery.


All student bicycles must be marked with the distinguishing letter of the College and with a personal number which will be allocated by the Porters Lodge.  This is not only to satisfy

University Regulations (Proctors may be issuing warnings or on-the-spot fines for failure to comply) but also to maximise the chance of the bike‟s return should it be stolen.  Information as to accommodation for bicycles in the College should be obtained from the Head Porter. Students  are  advised  not  to  bring  expensive  cycles  to  Cambridge.    Students  are  not permitted  to  store  cycles  in  corridors  or  rooms  as  they  become  a  trip  hazard  in  an emergency situation.  Cycling is not permitted in the College grounds.

Cycling is an easy and convenient way of getting around Cambridge, and the following advice should be followed:-

Always obey road traffic regulations as they apply to all cyclists. When possible use cycle lanes/paths.

Riding  at  night  without  lights  is  illegal  and  dangerous.      Ensure  that  you  have functioning cycle lights with you and spare batteries.

When cycling at night be seen – wear bright and reflective clothing.

Wear a cycle helmet – over half of cycling deaths are caused by head injuries. Cycling after having consumed alcohol is dangerous.

Ensure that your bike is well maintained.

The narrow streets of central Cambridge present considerable problems and dangers for cyclists. The Police regularly fine students caught without lights. The practice of cyclists ignoring red traffic lights, particularly at the Silver Street/Queens Road junction, is both dangerous and likely to attract the attention of the Police.

Visitors and Contractors

Any Visitor or Contractor on College business will be required to sign in at the Porters Lodge on arrival.  At the Porters‟ Lodge they will be issued with either a Visitors‟ or Contractors‟ identification badge.  They are informed that badges are to be 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 badge.

Preferred Contractors and regular Visitors to Pembroke College are issued with “Code of Practice for Contractors and Visitors” booklets.  Most work activities are covered by Health and Safety Law and so it is important Contractors/Sub Contractors and Visitors to our site understand the regulations and requirements stipulated by Pembroke College when working here, delivering goods or visiting our workplace.