The University of Bristol says it's discussing the possibility of paying for police resources to deal with night-time noise incidents. An alternative idea is to employ commercially provided street marshals.
One thing that's clear is that the university has again ruled out the oft-cited idea that it should use its existing 24/7 mobile security team to respond to student parties.
(See my comment at the end.)
The latest developments at the University of Bristol are contained in a letter from Lynn Robinson, deputy registrar, to Diana Swaine, chair of Chandos Neighbourhood Association. At a meeting in July attended by Ms Robinson, CNA members proposed various ways the university could respond to noise problems. Several of these were along the lines of policing arrangements operating in other parts of the country, including Operation Oak, a scheme funded by Newcastle and Northumbria universities that pays for Friday and Saturday-night policing. (See here and here for details of Operation Oak.)
The letter also details changes the university recently made to its fines for student parties that disturb neighbours:
"I'm so sorry for the slow response, I'm afraid the start of term has been more busy than ever. You will probably have seen the reporting last week about the increases in fines that we have agreed since our meeting and I can update you on this as well as the other things we discussed:
"As reported in the local media we have strengthened our disciplinary processes so that there will be a standard £100 fine per householder (as opposed to "up to £100") for a first offence of an anti-social party and there will also be compulsory attendance at an anti-social behaviour impact awareness session at an additional cost of £50. We will also be requiring students to write to apologise to their neighbours and will take further action if they do not. The student's head of school will also be notified, which we know is an additional deterrent. A repeat offence will incur a £250 fine per householder.
"In the Chandos Road area there will also be an additional door knock by Police and Neighbourhood Enforcement with targeted noise and ASB messages and a visible Police presence in the area throughout October as their resources allow. Our Students' Union is also offering support to students who wish to organise an event or activity which brings together students and long term residents, using the Community Fund.
"I know that the key issue for many of your residents is over-night response. Having discussed possibilities with our security teams, we don't think that involving them in night patrols would be helpful and we are instead pursuing two options—University funding for dedicated police or Police Community Support Officer resource to enable them to patrol along the lines of the Newcastle initiative; and, at an earlier stage of discussion, possibly working with the Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (whose Advisory Board I chair) to expand their street marshal scheme. It will take a little time to finalise these discussions I'm afraid but my aim is to have reached agreement this term.
"Hope that is helpful and sorry that this is taking longer than no doubt you and your members would like but I hope that these actions will make a difference in the foreseeable future."
Comment: If it's a choice between policing and street marshals, let's hope it's the former rather than the latter. What we need is someone with power to close down a student party, not just go to a property and dispense some advice. True, right now we're not getting that even from the police, but I live in hope that we will eventually get an answer on the use of powers provided by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act of 2014. Over the summer, I had an email exchange with a police officer in Durham who detailed her force's use of the 2014 powers. I keep pushing our police here in Bristol to explain why they are not doing the same thing. On a related point, I was told recently by a Bishopston resident that UWE's security team, unlike UoB's, do respond to private addresses.