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UoB urges a quiet Halloween as Brexit interrupts police patrols

University of Bristol has urged student households to plan their Halloween celebrations so as not to cause disturbance.

A letter addressed to students warns about “the pitfalls of believing a house party would be a good choice for a social event.” It was due to be distributed this week in a door-knock by student ambassadors.

Halloween Night (Oct. 31) was one of the noisiest of the year in the Chandos area last year, with several parties taking place. This year, it runs into the weekend party nights of Friday and Saturday, which may also see some early Guy Fawkes celebrations.

There will be no Operation Beech patrols this weekend—they were cancelled as the police put officers on standby for any Brexit-related unrest. Beech will resume on Tuesday, Nov 5 (Bonfire Night) and Nov 8 and 9.

From end-September to Oct 19, Operation Beech received 22 complaints of parties or noise involving UoB students, according to PC Sian Harris, the campus police officer. Another three cases were found not to involve students and in two others those involved had left before officers arrived.

The patrols, paid for by the University of Bristol, have generally had good reviews from residents who’ve had to contact officers for help with noise issues.

One says she and her husband texted Beech after a loud party started up in Archfield Road, Cotham. Officers arrived at 11-15pm and talked to the students. The music was turned down—only to go back up again after the officers left. The residents texted again and the officers returned just after midnight.

This time, she says, “the music was turned off for good and the big crowd of students apparently went off to a club. Such a relief. The Beech patrol is highly effective and responsive." (Incident report.)

Other residents have sent in similar reports (see Incidents page).

Operation Beech will operate in designated areas (see info box) on the dates shown, although officers can always be pulled away to deal with emergencies.

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

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

My own advice (unofficial) for using Beech:

  • Text, don't call. Keep it 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, and patient. At times, the officers may be quite busy and may have to prioritise certain incidents.

  • Don't wait until UoB's 10pm (midweek) or midnight (weekend) party guideline has been breached. The officers are on duty only until 2am, so there may be a problem if requests bunch up after midnight.

Even if you contact Beech, I advise that you also file a complaint email to the university in the normal manner. (See my 'response' pages here if you need help.) 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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