Security Sensitive Code of Practice
In 2008 a PhD student and a colleague at Nottingham University were arrested and detained for 7 days for suspected involvement in Islamic terrorism. Their supposed ‘crime’ – which was reported to police by a University manager – was to download a document which, it later transpired, was freely available for sale from a well-known internet bookseller. This has become known as the “Nottingham Case”. Subsequent cases have involved, amongst others, staff at the Universities of Oxford and Liverpool.
The case raised the profile of dilemmas that can face legitimate researchers working on security-and other sensitive topics, and highlighted the need for some guidance for researchers and Universities. In October 2012 Universities UK published Oversight of security-sensitive research material in UK universities: guidance, following discussions among stakeholders in security research that had been active in the UK since 2008. That document has been used to inform the content of this Code of Practice.
The need for a Code of Practice on this subject has been further reinforced by the UK government’s Prevent Strategy under its anti-terrorism legislation (Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015) which requires HEIs to ‘have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism’. Whilst research involving other sensitive areas is not part of the Prevent Duty, it can lead to similar problems for researchers. We have therefore followed UUK guidance and included it in this Code of Practice. The views of CCCU researchers, gathered at the RKE Forum on this topic held in October 2015, have also informed the content of this document.
Research carried out by staff or students at this University must take place within the boundaries of United Kingdom law as it stands at the time the research is being carried out.
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