The University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University have joined forces to help further tackle antisocial student behaviour, funding additional patrols as part of a trial initiative.
The extra Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team (LASBT) and police patrols aim to reduce noise and nuisance behaviour in areas where students live.
Working in partnership with Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and Safer Leeds, the universities have been reviewing methods of tackling student antisocial behaviour after listening to the concerns of residents.
The trial initiative is part of the universities’ ongoing commitment to maintaining an inclusive community and will see increased LASBT Officer and Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) patrols from next week until the end of July 2021.
Officers will be able to issue legal warnings, which could lead to fines, equipment seizures, house closures and prosecution. An ongoing review will assess the patrols’ effectiveness.
They will initially cover the busier periods such as weekends and key dates in the student calendar, focusing on areas popular with students including Woodhouse, Hyde Park, Burley and Headingley.
“This is a positive and proactive step from the universities following lengthy discussions with Leeds City Council, Safer Leeds, the police and local councillors.”
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Communities, said: “This is a positive and proactive step from the universities following lengthy discussions with Leeds City Council, Safer Leeds, the police and local councillors.
“I am pleased we have been able to work together to provide these additional patrols, which will help to reduce student antisocial behaviour, supplement the resources we have already prioritised on this issue in Safer Leeds and help create a positive environment for students and local residents to live together more harmoniously.
“It will also help support ongoing work to address the COVID-19-related concerns of both students and residents in communities where they live, by creating capacity for greater engagement with students around how they can help keep themselves and others safe – something the universities are doing all they can to support.”
This new approach is in addition to preventative work already undertaken by the universities. This includes:
- a full student citizenship programme of activities which involves education and guidance for students during induction and when moving into private rented accommodation
- a bespoke training course for students on good citizenship behaviours training
- projects such as the Colour Hyde Park community mural project
- ongoing engagement with residents’ associations and community groups, to help tackle issues around student behaviour
The universities take student behaviour in the community very seriously, also providing a dedicated Neighbourhood Helpline for people to report issues and working in partnership with LASBT to share information.
Each report is investigated fully, and students can face disciplinary action resulting in fines, suspension or exclusion from their university.
In a joint statement, the universities said: “We take our responsibility to be a good neighbour very seriously and always aim to manage the impact of our students on the wider community.
“We are proud of the long-standing and positive relationships we have forged with our local communities. We already work collaboratively with other universities in the city, Leeds Antisocial Behaviour team and West Yorkshire Police to minimise nuisance and antisocial behaviour in local neighbourhoods.
“In addition, we also encourage our neighbours to use the Universities and Colleges Neighbourhood Helpline to report any nuisance or disorder.
“Having listened to the concerns of local residents and councillors, we hope that these additional patrols will reassure them that we take student behaviour and the health and wellbeing of our local communities very seriously.
“We will continue to monitor complaints received when reviewing the effectiveness of this trial initiative and work with Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and Safer Leeds towards our common goal of a cohesive community for all.”
To report any neighbourhood issues involving young people, please contact the Universities and Colleges Neighbourhood Helpline. For issues occurring out of hours, contact Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team on 0113 376 0337.