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'Operation Beech' police patrols expected to return for new term

Operation Beech, a university-funded system of police patrols tasked to tackle student noise, is expected to make a return as the new academic year begins.

A trial run that took place in June was judged a success, a University of Bristol liaison meeting with residents groups was told in July.

The trial saw a mobile, two-officer patrol on duty on four nights (Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat) in each of the two weeks. Residents in known noise hot-spots were given a mobile phone number to text if they were having problems with student noise. The areas comprised Chandos Road and adjoining streets, the areas around Waverley and Ravenswood Roads, Manor Park, Highbury Villas, Ashgrove Road and two sites in Clifton: Eaton Crescent and Arlington Villas.

Joni Lloyd, UoB’s community liaison manager at the time of the meeting, said the patrols had dealt with 26 requests over the eight nights. Sergeant Jonathan Scott, speaking for the neighbourhood police team, said feedback had been positive and the trial was seen as a success.

Ms Lloyd, who has since stepped down as CLM, said it was expected Operation Beech would run for the whole of the autumn term, and then at selected times between January and the end of the academic year. She expected the designated areas to stay the same.

Estimated Cost

The Tab, an online student newspaper, reported in August that the two-week trial had cost the University of Bristol £4,600. It didn’t say where it got the information.

If the cost remains at £2,300 per week, a 20-week programme covering the first term and some weeks next year would cost £46,000. (No announcement has yet been made of future dates, so the cost can only be estimated at this stage.)

The Tab report quoted a university spokesperson as saying: "We acknowledge that public services are stretched, so where our students are causing distress to local residents, we should contribute to resourcing that management.

"The trial in June was designed to test systems and processes before it is rolled out in September."

There had been no large-scale house parties during the trial period, the spokesperson said, and most issues the patrols dealt with were resolved "easily” through requests to turn down music, close doors and windows and ask people to go inside.

"Police reported that students responded politely and apologetically when approached," the spokesperson added, according to the Tab report.


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