Clare College Cambridge

Safety and Security Advice

Room Keys

Every occupant of a College room, dependant on where they are residing, will receive a key from either the Porters’ Lodges, or will be able to use their University Card to gain access to their residence and will be responsible for the safety of the key/card. Undergraduates issued with a key will be required to sign for it when it is issued at the start of each Term and to sign again when it is returned at the end of each Term.  Graduate students are expected to sign for room keys annually.

Copying of keys is forbidden, and disciplinary action will be taken against anyone in breach of this rule. Although the Porters keep duplicate room keys/cards for use in emergencies, the loss of a key will normally mean that a new lock has to be installed.  A charge of £20 is therefore made if a key is lost, or if it is not surrendered when the room is vacated.

University Card & Proximity Access Cards

Your University card functions as an access card, a borrowing card for the College Library and a meals payment card. All students, Fellows and staff are issued with a University Card, uniquely identifiable by its number. This card is the responsibility of the card holder and will be needed to access secure areas of the College.

If your card isn't working properly, for instance, it may activate some doors but not others or it may simply be old and faded then you should report this to the Senior Porter, Tony Przybylski  who is responsible for the management of University cards issued to Clare members. In the event of loss or damage, the cardholder must order a new card using the replacement card order form. A charge of £20 may be made for this service and the card holder is required to pay this fee. During the time that a new card is being produced a temporary proximity access card may be borrowed from the Porters’ Lodge. 

Please note: the Buttery payment system is separate from the door access system. Try reactivating the card at the Old Court Porters' Lodge, if this doesnt work then you will need to see Linda Challinor in the College Bursary. 

If you find a card that doesn't belong to you, please do hand it in to a Porters' Lodge immediately.

Loss of Personal Belongings

The College does not insure private property kept on its premises; therefore, on arrival to College, all students are strongly advised to have sufficient and appropriate insurance, such as an “all risks” policy for their personal belongings. Students should remember that some providers insist on evidence of forced entry for a claim to succeed while others do not.  The Bursary can advise on the selection of a suitable insurance provider.  The College cannot and does not accept responsibility for any losses.

Vacating Rooms

During vacations, rooms are often needed to accommodate conference guests and for other purposes. They must therefore be left in a usable state at the end of each term. Personal belongings must be removed (or, during the Christmas or Easter Vacations, kept in a box within the room, however, during the Long Vacation they must be removed). If students wish to leave their belongings elsewhere in the College during vacations they do so at their own risk and the College accepts no responsibility for a student’s personal possessions whilst in storage.

Since rooms cannot be provided for guests unless the College can vouch for their security, it is important that students return their keys to the Porters’ Lodge before they leave.  All room and front door keys must be handed in by the date and time stated in your lease contract.  Once the key is returned, no further access is allowed to the room.  Students who inadvertently take keys home with them should telephone the respective Porters’ Lodge at once and leave a message for the Head Porter and return the keys, securely packaged, by recorded delivery post, to reach the College by 10.30 am on the Wednesday following the end of the licence period. If keys have not been returned by 10.30 am on the Wednesday following the end of the licence period, the room will be deemed to be in unauthorised occupation and the penalties specified below will be applied.  Although the imposition of fines and penalties is always regrettable, they are easily avoided and have been found necessary to prevent the loss of essential revenue.

Graduating students must vacate their rooms by midday and return the key to the Porters’ Lodge.  The room must not be accessed again.

Building and Room Security

Although the College buildings and grounds are private property, the public has access to them and rooms are subject to pilfering. Students are strongly advised to keep their rooms locked when they are out and also their windows closed, particularly if they live on the ground floor. 

College staff will lock doors if rooms are found to be empty but while efforts are made to keep rooms secure, students are responsible for the safety of their own belongings. The Head Porter may be able to provide safe storage for items of particular value for short periods in special circumstances.

If you pass through College at night when the gates are locked you should ensure that the gates close properly behind you. At night we endeavour to protect our premises and our members by having the gates locked and this will only provide protection if we gain support from all those who pass through College.

Personal Safety

Students should take the normal precautions associated with living in a relatively big city, particularly when moving around in Town at night.  It is advised that where possible, students should:

  • If possible, travel in pairs or groups.
  • Keep to main routes where other people are present.
  • Dress ‘down’ rather than ‘up’.
  • Use public transport or taxis late at night.
  • Avoid deserted or ill-lit areas.
  • Avoid arguments with strangers.
  • Consider carrying a personal alarm.
  • Consider carrying a mobile phone but keep it out of sight.
  • Do not leave personal possessions unattended.

If valuables are carried, it is recommended that students:

  • Keep all valuable items out of sight of others.
  • Do not carry large sums of cash.
  • Keep details of valuable items, credit card numbers, and serial numbers in a separate place.

Within the student residence, students are advised to:

  • Lock the door and windows every time the room is vacated.
  • Be responsible for safeguarding room keys.
  • Allow only known persons into residences. 

Security Plan and Response

As part of the College Security Plan, the three phases to consider are:

  • Prevention.
  • Reaction to a General Threat.
  • Reaction to a Specific Threat.

  Clare College Emergncy Responce Plan      


This is a general responsibility for all members of the College.  Access to many areas of the College is generally controlled by means of the Porters, a proximity card access control system and number-lock doors, backed up by vigilant staff and CCTV monitoring. Staircases and hostels must be closed and, where possible, locked; there should not be any opportunity for un-invited persons to enter those areas. Students are responsible for their individual room. Unknown persons should be questioned as to their presence inside buildings. It is everyone’s responsibility to be alert to possible intruders or suspicious activities.

Reaction to a General Alert

This is a non-specific threat towards the area (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 hostels.

Details of any alert are rapidly disseminated to all concerned by the Steward and his staff, and then each area will be responsible for its own security sweep and reporting back to the Porters’ Lodge when complete. The public areas within College such as the Chapel will be checked by College staff. Persons residing within College are responsible for their own room whilst members of staff will check student communal areas.

Reaction to a Specific Threat

If there is a specific threat against the College, e.g. information that the College, a particular staircase or building has been 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, then the procedures within the College Bomb Threat document must be implemented immediately. The quickest way to effect this evacuation will be by sounding the fire alarm for the area concerned.

Surveillance Cameras

CCTV cameras are used on College sites to help to safeguard the security of people and property. Cameras are positioned to capture views of the car parks the main entrances to the College and entrances to some residential and communal buildings. The live pictures are monitored by the College Porters, in order to detect any suspicious activity. The images are recorded onto a hard disc recording system and can be reviewed retrospectively during the investigation of any incident.

Warning signs are in place at the College entrances to inform College members and members of the public that surveillance cameras are in operation. CCTV imagery can be retained for a period up to 10 days before being overwritten.

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

College members have the right of access to information about themselves held on CCTV imagery. If access to these images is sought, then a Data Access Request Form (available from the College Data Protection Officer) must be completed, the current fee paid and evidence provided of identity.

Visitors/Contractors Entry Passes

Any visitor or contractor on College business will be required to either be escorted throughout the duration of their visit or if un-escorted, will be asked to sign in at the respective Porters’ Lodge where they will be issued with either a visitors’ or contractors’ entry pass.  This pass is to be worn at all times whilst on College premises and should be surrendered for inspection if required to do so at any time.  On the completion of business, entry passes are to be returned to the Porters’ Lodge.

External Assistance

In order to promote security awareness and to assist in dealing with criminal incidents, a Police Liaison Officer has been appointed by Cambridgeshire Constabulary who is available to attend incidents involving members of the College and will annually provide an overview of the risks relating to personal safety and security of personal possessions to all College Fresher’s during their Matriculation.  In addition, a Police Intelligence Analyst reviews all criminal activities involving the University and/or Colleges and provides a monthly report that gives the previous month’s crime statistics along with photographs of alleged perpetrators and known criminals who are thought to be active in and around the University and Colleges.)

If you need further information on security at Clare College, please email the Head Porter (