'Party patrols' begin in Oxford to tackle late night noise

By Emma Vardy
Political Reporter, BBC Oxford

image captionPolice and environmental health officers are patrolling east Oxford

Loud music and anti-social behaviour in Oxford is being targeted by new so-called "Party patrols".

Police and Oxford City Council environmental health officers have started patrolling on foot and by car for noisy gatherings.

Figures obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act show an average of 1,000 complaints a year over late night parties in the city.

The East Oxford Residents' Association said late parties "grind people down".

More than two thirds of complaints came from the OX3 and OX4 postal areas, which are in the east of the city and popular with students.

Karen Dixon, from Oxford City Council's Environmental Health team, said: "One of the concerns is that there is a constant rolling through of parties in certain streets where there's a high density of shared houses.

"We will be knocking on the door and saying, 'hi guys we're patrolling tonight, remember to consider your neighbours and when it gets to a certain time you need to be winding it down'."

On-the-spot fines

The council is spending £14,000 on the night-time patrols, which will be part of its out-of-hours complaints service.

If warnings go unheeded the team has the equipment to measure noise levels and can hand out on-the-spot fines.

Earlier this year Oxford Brookes University wrote a letter to students warning them about anti-social behaviour, but said problems were only caused by a "minority" of students.

Ch Insp Cecilia Agger, from Thames Valley Police, said "This initiative is not about trying to stop people from having fun, it is more about educating and informing people about the impact their actions can have on the local communities they live in."

Ed Chipperfield, from the East Oxford Residents' Association, said if people felt there was no-one out there "keeping tabs" on the noise then it "just grinds people down".

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