Newcastle and Northumbria Universities are working with Northumbria Police to ensure that a traditional student party period passes off peacefully.

Many students like to let down their hair in June when their exams are over so the two universities are co-operating with the police to fund more bobbies on the beat during that month.

Operation Oak – a joint £50,000 initiative which ensures extra patrols on Friday and Saturday nights during term time – is to be extended into June, with the additional patrols taking place every night.

The operation will aim to keep noise to a minimum and to preserve good relations between local residents and students.

Newcastle University’s director of employability and student success, Marc Lintern, commented, “With such large numbers of young people living in residential areas – living different lives and keeping different hours to their neighbours – it’s understandable there have been tensions in certain neighbourhoods of Newcastle.”

“This is an issue for most university cities, but at Newcastle University we have been working hard with our colleagues at Northumbria University, the police, the council and local residents to tackle the problems and try to improve the relations between our students and their neighbours.”

“We have made great progress over the last 12 months and by extending Operation Oak – alongside Newcastle University’s Leave Newcastle Happy campaign to clean up the streets – we hope our students will end the academic year on good terms with their neighbours.”

The head of student support and wellbeing at Northumbria University, Sue Broadbent, said, “We know at this time of year students may take the opportunity to celebrate the end of their studies, but it is vital that they recognise that they need to do so in a respectful way to those around them.”

“Operation Oak continues to be an important part of our efforts to remind students about their responsibilities and to be good civic citizens.”

Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Millican said, “Operation Oak has been a huge success and that would not have been possible without the support of the universities.”

“This type of funding allows us to deploy targeted patrols in student communities to ensure they are safe and keeping out of trouble.”

“We know some local communities are concerned about noise and anti-social behaviour linked to student properties in Jesmond, Heaton and Shieldfield.”

“The funding provided by the universities means we can jointly work to educate the student population in how to be respectful and considerate neighbours to the local communities they live alongside.”

“Operation Oak means we can respond to these concerns quickly and take appropriate action to manage community tensions.”

“It also gives us the opportunity to engage with students, make sure they are safe and offer them advice to ensure they don’t fall victim to crime.”

Operation Oak will run alongside Newcastle University’s Leave Newcastle Happy campaign, which combines a clean-up and recycling scheme with raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

Last year saw a total of 6930 bags of refuse collected by students and £124,270 raised for the charity.

This year Newcastle University has also paid for rubbish skips to be placed in Jesmond and West Jesmond to reduce the number of items left in back lanes by students moving out.

(Featured image courtesy of Ray Forster, from Flickr Creative Commons)





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