RETURNING STUDENTS WHO DO NOT NEED TO BE IN NOTTINGHAM SHOULD 'GO HOME'
In the wake of a rise in house parties, Matt Jarram, the Nottingham Post's Senior Digital Reporter and Crime Correspondent, reported on Wednesday 3 February 2021 that Nottinghamshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, in reflecting the concerns of residents that students are returning to Nottingham even if their studies do not require them to be here has called for these students to 'go home'.
Call for students to return home if they don't need to be in Nottingham after rise in illegal house parties
Crime Commissioner orders students to 'go home'
Outraged residents in an area blighted by student house parties are concerned more are arriving in the city as their exam period comes to an end.
Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping has called for returning students to 'go home' if they don't need to be here for their studies.
Concerns have been raised by residents over what they describe as a lack of intervention by both universities to properly discipline students who break the Covid rules.
This comes after several house parties were broken up by police in the Lenton area last weekend.
Nottingham's two universities have refused to publish the number of students disciplined or suspended for organising and attending illegal house parties.
Police can now hand out new £800 fines to anyone who attends an illegal party or gathering with more than 15 people.
The £10,000 fines will still remain for gatherings of over 30 and £200 fines for those caught mixing with households.
Students have been told not to return to university and study from their current residence, where possible, until at least mid-February.
Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said only one person, a student, had paid the £10,000 fine across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
He also said only half of people had paid the other fines issued.
He made a plea to returning students who didn't need to study in Nottingham to 'go home.'
Over the weekend, a DJ set-up was was found in a communal area of student flats in Castle Boulevard, which patrolling police discovered at around 1.15am on Saturday, January 30.
Twenty-one rule-breakers were fined for ignoring the Covid lockdown. Officers say they also found "lots" of empty alcohol containers and nitrous oxide canisters.
Ten people were given fixed penalty notices after police were called to a report of people gathering at a property in Gregory Avenue, Lenton, at 2.15am on Sunday January 31.
Four of those fined had their penalties increased to £400 for being repeat offenders.
Officers found a buffet, a poker table and bottles of alcohol.
Nine people were also fined £200 after officers were called to a house party in Harrington Drive, Lenton, at around 11.30pm on Friday January 29.
One person tried to block a bedroom door and two people were found hiding under a bed in the same room when officers entered the property, police say.
Kate Loewenthal, chairwoman of the Lenton Drives and Neighbours Residents' Association, said residents would like the universities to do more and wasn't surprised the universities were not releasing these details.
She told Nottinghamshire Live: "There are certain courses where students are allowed back but there is no way all the students that have come back are on these courses.
"There are so many students back - everyone has noticed. I think the majority have come back because they would rather be here than at home under parents' watchful eye.
"We are a year in and there is no way they don't know what the situation is and the impact. There is no excuse for this behaviour. The universities should be taking more action."
Virginia Rochester, secretary of the residents association in Lenton who also lives in the area, believes the community is not getting "many answers" on what the universities are doing.
She said: "The exam period has just finished so why are they moving back to Nottingham? You don't want to think the worst of people but there were house parties at the weekend.
"This is not good if they are moving back to celebrate. People are also moving back from various places of the country and could bring this new variant with them.
"It is a mixed population here with elderly and vulnerable people sharing the same shops and buses."
She believes there needs to be more university security in the area rather than just a reliance on the police to break them up.
"I don't think they have many answers. I am sick of hearing it is 'a minority of students' because it still affects the community around them."
Mr Tipping expressed his concerns over the number of student house parties over the weekend.
He said: "Students are not being invited to come back unless it is for practical work.
"No one can stop them coming back and over the weekend there has been several parties including the one in Castle Boulevard.
"I think it might be the case that students are coming back - but they are not invited back. They are invited to stay at home.
"The relationship between the police and two universities is very positive. I think we are 10 months into this crisis and people should know the rules.
"All the intensive care beds are full or overfull and all these young people have granddads and grandmas and they are putting them at risk.
"This is a life and death situation for some people."
Mr Tipping also argued that people organising these parties were putting police officers lives at risk.
"This crisis has lasted 10 months and it is a strain and they have got families to go home too. They do not want to transmit the virus to their partners and kids."
Both Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham were sent these questions.
1.) How many students have been disciplined for holding / attending these parties from September 11 when the first £10,000 fine was issued by police to the present day?
2.) Can you explain what discipline is taken?
3.) How many students have been suspended over this period of time?
4.) How many students have been excluded - taken off their course by the university?
5.) What are the universities going to do in regards to house parties as more students come back to the city over the coming weeks?
6.) Are you also aware that students might be returning to the city even if they are being told to work from their family home - what can be done, if anything, about that?
In a joint statement, both universities said an Freedom of Information request would need to be submitted in order to consider answering questions one to four.
They said: "Currently only a small proportion of our students are receiving in-person teaching in line with Government guidelines.
"The overwhelming majority of students from both universities continue to follow the rules if they have returned to campus.
"Many are playing an active role in supporting their communities.
"We will continue to work with our students during this challenging time to ensure they are aware of the crucial role they have to play in following the rules including remaining safely within their designated households.
"Whenever we have evidence of a breach of the guidelines, we support robust action by Nottinghamshire Police, and will take immediate action under our respective internal disciplinary processes, where fines, suspension and exclusion are potential outcomes."