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  • Andrew Waller

Operation Beech police patrols return as new students move in

University-funded police patrols aimed at curbing student noise resume tonight (Friday, Sep 27) and tomorrow. Residents in designated areas (see maps) can text officers if they are troubled by loud parties or noisy gatherings on the street.

"Operation Beech" will operate on all Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays in October, although officers can always be pulled away to deal with emergencies. Hallowe'en night on Oct 31, which is likely to be noisy (especially if it's also Brexit night) will not be covered—it's a Thursday, and anyway the police are typically too busy on Hallowe'en to cover it.

(For updates and a bigger map, see here.)

During a trial run in June, the patrols comprised two officers in a vehicle. Operation Beech is being paid for by the University of Bristol following an initiative by the Chandos Neighbourhood Association.

Coverage in future months will probably be more selective, and dates will be announced nearer the time. Check the link above for any updates.

Many residents will be grateful for the possibility of police intervention. Several have already filed complaints over the past week as students move into their rented housing, many of them second-years "living out" for the first time. Most complaints have cited groups of students on the streets late at night, shouting and causing disturbance. (See incident reports on the home page.)

My own advice (unofficial) for using Beech:

  • Text, don't call. The officers will probably get lots of requests, and you may not get a direct response unless they need more information.

  • Keep your text short and begin with the address (street name, house number) or location:

“99 Anyplace Rd: large house party, loud bass, grateful if you can intervene, John”

“Hampton Rd, near petrol station: large, noisy group, approx 15 people, gathered on street, please can you speak to them, Julia”

  • Be polite; during the trial some people weren't.

  • I suspect the officers will be quite busy and may have to prioritise certain incidents, so you may have to be patient.

  • With that in mind, I suggest you don't contact Beech unless you need to: Some things can be better dealt with by an email to the university in the morning. At the other end of the scale, if your student neighbours start playing noisy sound equipment at 10pm, and there are clear signs of major disruption to come, then don't hesitate. In other words, let's not paralyse the system with trivial stuff, but also let's not wait too long to notify something that genuinely warrants intervention. I don't think you need wait until UoB's 10pm (midweek) or midnight (weekend) guideline has been breached. The officers are on duty only until 2am, so there will be a problem if requests bunch up after midnight.

Whether or not you contact Beech, I advise that you file a complaint email to the university in the normal manner. (See my 'response' pages here if you need help with that.) If you want to include feedback about the Beech experience in your complaint email, that might be helpful to UoB and the police. (Please copy me in.)

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