Reporting street noise
Summary: This page deals with random night-time noise in the street, usually by persons unknown. (We may not even be sure if they are students.) If you can connect the noise-makers to an address, go back to the start and choose one of the other response pages.
Shouting, singing, screaming, and other forms of commotion, such as the sound of rubbish bins being overturned, are commonplace at night as people make their way to and from the pubs and clubs. Most such incidents are short-lived and, coupled with the problems of identifying who’s involved, they tend not to be reported even though they disturb many people. Occasionally, there may be a case to call the police, and sometimes it may be worth reporting an incident to the university. You can also send details to me. Read on:
Step 1: When it's happening
If the disturbance is particularly loud and prolonged, or involves a lot of people, you would be justified in calling the police on 101. In the rare case that it's worse than that—people fighting in the street, acting in a threatening manner, or causing distress to you or others, call 999.
If you call the police, be ready to supply some details:
Nature of the incident
How many people are involved
Duration of the incident so far
Which direction the people are headed in
Step 2: Afterwards
In most cases the noise-makers will be unidentifiable and the police are unlikely to be interested unless the incident was serious enough to warrant investigation. The council doesn't deal with random street noise. There may be a case to report the incident to the relevant university if there is reason to believe the people involved were students—for example, the disturbance took place near university buildings, or some of the participants wore university-branded clothing. Your report, coupled with others, might lead to an identification.
University contact details:
University of Bristol
Community Liaison Manager
University of the West of England
Community Liaison Manager
You can also email a report to me (Andrew Waller) at email@example.com. Despite the difficulties in getting solid information, I’m interested in trying to log how often people are disturbed by street noise. (Catching the culprits is not my priority.)
Please send me an email with "Street noise near (your address)" in the subject line. State the date, time and location, and basic details. If you heard more than one voice, say so; identify gender if you can. If all you can say is "I was woken at 2am by the sound of a man shouting in the street for 5 minutes near the junction of Ashgrove Road and Hampton Park" that's still useful information.
I’m not asking anyone to jump out of bed, but if you did look out of a window and spotted the noise-makers, you might be able to supply more detail, for example: "About a dozen young people, both male and female, shouting while walking northwards along Hampton Road near the junction with Chandos Road, 1-10am, 17 March 2018. One male adding to the noise by kicking recycling bins on the pavement."
I may compile reports into a list and use them as part of a discussion with the police and university about noise in this area.
IMPORTANT: I suggest you do not go outside and confront the culprits. People at parties know they can be traced to an address, which helps curb aggression. That inhibition is missing in an encounter with people who are simply passing your house. Students are not usually physically aggressive—but you probably don’t know for sure if these people are in fact students. Plus, the reason they’re so noisy is probably that they’re drunk and not in control of their actions. If their behaviour has caused you particular distress or annoyance, try to see which way they’re headed and call 101.
Version: September 2019
This page presents my advice. Users must make their own judgment. If you complain in person to people creating noise, try to remain calm and business-like, and avoid inflammatory words or action.