By Toby Foster & Adam McGroarty
A POLICE hunt for a man believed to be seen wearing a suicide vest at Bournemouth University ended when officers discovered the suspect was a runner in a fitness vest.
Armed officers were called to the university’s Talbot Campus at 2.33pm following reports of a man “wearing something that resembled a suicide vest”.
Students were barred from leaving all buildings on the site, including journalism students who were working in newsrooms at Weymouth House.
All exits were blocked by members of staff and armed police officers could be seen patrolling the campus, whilst a police helicopter could be heard overhead. Fire service and ambulance vehicles were also quick to arrive. Bus services to the campus were suspended whilst the investigation continued.
Rumours quickly spread of a gunman or knifeman being at large, while a journalism lecturer filming with students was asked by police whether he had seen anyone wearing a suicide vest.
But the incident ended about an hour later, when students were allowed to leave the campus buildings.
Helicopters seen earlier on campus pic.twitter.com/HsMZVrI8X9
— Buzz News (@buzz_bmth) January 10, 2020
A police statement then followed, giving an overview of the incident:
“Dorset Police received a report at 2.33pm on Friday 10 January regarding a security alert relating to a man seen in the area of the Boundary roundabout near to Bournemouth University.
An initial report suggested the man could be wearing something that resembled a suicide vest. As a precaution, the university was placed on lockdown as searches of the area were carried out.
Officers attended the scene and undertook an investigation, including a review of CCTV footage, and it was established that it was believed to be someone running in a fitness vest.
The lockdown has now been lifted and we do not believe there is any further cause for concern or threat to the public.”
Jim Andrews, Chief Operating Officer of Bournemouth University, told Buzz News: “By now, I am sure you will have seen reports of a police operation that took place on BU’s Talbot Campus this afternoon.
“We were asked by police to close our buildings for a short period of time while an investigation on our campus took place. This investigation took place swiftly; after which we were informed that our buildings could be reopened.
“We were disappointed to see the factually inaccurate reports on social media and can reassure you that members of our community were safe for the duration of this incident.
“Thankfully this type of incident is rare and I would like to extend my thanks to all members of our community who were patient with us while we supported the police in their investigation.”