Operation Beech noise patrols attend 128 incidents in Term 1
Operation Beech, the police patrol paid for by University of Bristol, responded to 128 incidents, mostly noise related, in the first term of the academic year, according to police figures.
Between 23 September and 19 December, Beech officers were on duty on 40 nights, usually Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The patrol, typically two officers in a vehicle, was set up to respond to noise complaints. Residents can request assistance by texting a dedicated mobile-phone number (see details below).
In the final weeks of term, officers also dealt with several breaches of Covid restrictions.
Incidents averaged three per shift, but in practice there were some big variations—some shifts passed off without a call while others had eight incidents in a night. One of the busiest periods was the week leading up to Hallowe'en.
Beech is now in its second academic year. The latest numbers suggest it has become well known in the community and residents are making more use of it to deal with loud late-night parties or rowdy groups on the street.
One resident who lives near the junction of Hampton Park and Cotham Hill texted Beech eight times in a month (see article). Another, in Westfield Park, reported:
"The police responded within half an hour of my text and two female officers arrived in an unmarked car. A few minutes later, I counted at least 15 students ejected from the property, while noisily shouting their unhappiness at being busted."
Covid-19 also played a part this past term. Noise complaints were often a sign of gatherings that breached Covid rules.
Over the November and December period, Beech officers attended 43 addresses in response to noise complaints. Of these, 8 were found to be in breach of the pandemic regulations. A further two reports were about Covid breaches and didn't mention noise.
"Attending officers did find some Covid breaches but none were large parties and the majority were dealt with by words of advice though some fines were issued," said PC Sian Harris, the officer who works the university beat. "I encouraged members of the community to use Op Beech for Covid breaches if they needed to."
Patrols resumed on 13 January and will last until at least the end of this month, according to the university website. The number to text if you are being troubled by noise thought to be caused by UoB students is 07773 816248.
Officers found a small number of incidents either did not involve a student household or were caused by students from the University of the West of England. Details of those cases were passed to UWE.
Over the course of the term, about 10 percent of incidents related to street noise, where the culprits had often left the scene by the time the police arrived.
Although Operation Beech is officially targeted at six designated areas, in practice officers have generally responded to texts from adjoining areas as well.