Durham University in collaboration with Durham Constabulary and Durham County Council have announced a new procedure for responding to reports of anti-social noise from students in Durham City. It is intended to encourage positive citizenship and good relationships between students and native Durham residents, which have historically been in contention with one another.
Some of the initiatives included are the ‘Shh… 11pm-7am’ campaign, which is led by the City of Durham Parish Council, and aims to encourage quiet in residential areas during those times. Students are also required by Durham University to sign its Student Pledge, which outlines the kind of behaviour expected of them. Under the new procedure, anyone wishing to report ongoing anti-social noise out of hours at a property which they believe to be occupied by students should call the police non-emergency number 101. Their complaint will then be referred to the University Security Community Response Team (CRT), which operates between 9:30pm and 3:30am seven days a week during term time.
CRT members are said to take on an ‘engage, explain, encourage’ approach, which they feel encourages an immediate reduction in noise with the aim of preventing future noise complaints. Any bodycam footage obtained by the CRT can be shared with Durham County Council, who are then able to issue a Community Protection Warning or a Community Protection Notice. Breach of the latter can lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice or, ultimately, prosecution.
Speaking of the new procedure, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University Jeremy Cook said: “We encourage our students to be good citizens and considerate neighbours and the vast majority wish to be a positive part of the Durham community.
“However, we recognise that anti-social noise can be disruptive to neighbourhoods. Where anti-social noise is a significant problem, we will support Durham County Council in pursuing cases, and taking any necessary actions.”
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen said: “This new procedure recognises the fact that tackling anti-social behaviour is everyone’s business and reflects the importance of adopting a problem solving partnership approach.
“I am sure local residents and councillors will be pleased to learn their voices and concerns have been heard loud and clear. I welcome this positive development that has been designed to improve residents’ quality of life and recognises the importance of engaging and educating students about noise nuisance and the commitment by all partners to take enforcements action against those who despite warnings continue to cause harassment, alarm and distress.”