STAFF were left “indignant and angry” by a police knife crime operation at a Huddersfield college.
A teacher from Kirklees College, formerly Huddersfield Technical College, contacted the Examiner to complain after metal-detecting knife arches were put at college entrances last week.
Police also used hand-held metal detectors to scan students and staff as they went into the Brunel House Centre, off Leeds Road, and the Highfields Centre, on Halifax Road.
It was the second time this year the arches had been used at the college after a pilot at the main building in December.
Police said the scheme was designed to show there was not a major knife crime problem in Kirklees.
College principal Chris Sadler said it was well received.
But a teacher, who did not want to be named, said staff were unhappy.
The teacher said: “Both staff and students went through the same procedures, leaving some members of staff who have worked at Highfields for years indignant, and some angry.
“As for students, there were also those that felt indignant and angry, some felt violated because they were being treated like criminals when no knife crime had been committed, and others felt frightened, especially on approach to the centre because they thought something awful had happened.
“When explaining to the students why the initiative was being carried out, the response was one of puzzlement as no-one felt scared in the first place and thought it totally unnecessary.”
The teacher said the problems were compounded by a fire drill at the same time as the weapons checks.
“Staff were not aware of this when the alarm went off and found themselves compromised when they were unable to lead students out through the designated exit used in drills as it was locked,” the staff member said.
“Teaching staff had not been told the arches initiative was going to be run that day so were unable to work out suitable alternatives beforehand to ensure they would be ready in the case of an emergency.”
Mr Sadler rejected the comments. He said: “We are happy to receive comments on a range of issues but are disappointed that these points have not been raised directly with us.
“Contrary to the views expressed, ourselves and the police have had very positive feedback from both students and staff across the college.
“We would confirm that these proactive initiatives are reassuring to us all.
“Students and staff can be successful in a safe and non-intimidating environment. This is our main concern and we will continue with these activities to keep sending out a positive message.”
A police spokesman said the knife arches were a way of reassuring people.
He said last week’s operation followed seminars at the college about weapons crime.
“The police officers present at the operation did not receive any negative feedback, with all of the comments received being positive and supportive,” he added.
“Obviously if anyone had any issues with the use of safety arches at the college, we would be happy to discuss them.”