Students could be hit by on-the-spot fines of £80 if they are deemed to be making too much noise or causing a disturbance as part of ‘Operation Shush’, a new joint venture by Hampshire Police and Southampton Solent University.
The initiative is an attempt to cut down on cases of students aggravating the local population, and comes just before thousands will be moving down to Southampton to begin their first year at either one of the city’s universities.
‘Shush’ is mainly aimed at the Polygon residential area, where many students live in multiple occupancy homes alongside families. Safer Neighbourhoods officers, including the Polygon area engagement officer PC Jeanette Denton, will be meeting students during Freshers’ Week to give tips on how to keep houses secure and how to stay on good terms with neighbours, taking into consideration the noise made when returning from nights out.
Acting Inspector Ryan Bartlett explained that the scheme was designed to help students as much as locals:
“Students’ homes can provide rich pickings for the opportunist burglar due to household insecurities. Through this initiative we want to highlight the importance of ensuring that students’ homes are not left insecure to prevent them from becoming victims of crime and that they stay safe”
Bartlett went on to say that:
“We also want to make students’ aware of the inconvenience they cause neighbours when the have noisy parties or return home after a night out in town. We want to get them to get to know and respect their neighbours who are often affected by loud anti-social behaviour, which is often drink-fuelled… Many residents including young children and the elderly live and work in the City and need to sleep and get up early for jobs, school runs etc. A disruptive sleep pattern caused by noise impacts on them all and is unacceptable”
Relations between students and local residents are sometimes strained, particularly when students move out of halls and into residential areas from their second year onwards. The £80 fine, £20 more than an on-the-spot speeding ticket, should certainly act as a deterrent to those who antagonise their new neighbours.