"A TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT FOR NOTTINGHAM"*:
Behaviour of City's Students on First Day of Rule of Six
 

Matt Jarram, Nottingham Post Senior Digital Reporter & Crime Correspondent posted two articles on Tuesday 30 March 2021 reporting on the reactions of local residents and the Leader of Nottingham City Council and the Assistant Chief Constable to the behaviour witnessed in The Arboretum on the first day of the easing of lockdown restrictions. Amongst further information, and views, a later report posted by Olimpia Zagnat (Community Reporter) and Matt Jarram provided an update from Nottinghamshire Police.

*The quote is taken from a comment posted by a reader on the NottinghamshireLive website.

Additional links to local and national reporting, as well as to Facebook are given at the end of this page.

Officers at gates of The Arboretum in Nottingham as 'selfish minority' wreak havoc

Leader of Nottingham City Council and Assistant Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police both 'disappointed' by the behaviour of city's students on first day of rule of six

Council officers will be on the gates of The Arboretum over the coming days after large crowds wreaked havoc on the Nottingham beauty spot on the first day of the rule of six being reintroduced.

The leader of Nottingham City Council called the scenes "extremely disappointing" and "jeopardising the strides" being made by frontline workers to reduce the Covid-19 spread.

Residents in the area feel very little action has been taken by the police and council to tackle the problem which saw "a sea" of students descend on the park on Monday, March 29.

Shocking footage emerged over social media of hundreds of people partying in the park, climbing trees, dancing, fighting, and drinking alcohol.

This resulted in many local residents avoiding the area as a result.

Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said community protection officers will be on the gates of The Arboretum over the coming days and there will be extra police patrols.

Councillor David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: "The scenes from the Arboretum yesterday evening are extremely disappointing, with a selfish minority abusing the easing of restrictions and spoiling it for others.

"We have all made sacrifices over the last year to keep each other safe. Over 600 local people have died due to the virus.

"We owe it to their families, to each other and to frontline workers not to jeopardise the strides we have made towards reducing the spread of Covid by acting so thoughtlessly and recklessly.

"The roadmap is a cautious way out of this terrible situation and we all need to abide strictly to its rules.

"They currently allow up to six people or two households to meet outside - but other necessary precautions such as social distancing remain in place.

"We need everyone to take on their own personal responsibility as the roadmap gradually grants us more freedom.

"We have had discussions with senior police officers and there will be increased presence in our parks.

"Drinking alcohol in public spaces is not permitted in Nottingham and will be seized on entry to our parks today.

"It’s also totally unacceptable for people to litter our parks in this way. Parks have been a lifeline for many during the pandemic and our staff have worked tirelessly to keep them open, clean and safe.

"It’s not too much to ask that if bins are full, people take their rubbish away with them and dispose of it responsibly.

"I’m grateful to both universities who have offered help to clean up today. We want our parks to remain somewhere everyone can enjoy."

Mr Tipping added: "We had a good meeting and there has been discussions with the city council. The city's community protection officers will be apparent around the gates of the park.

"They will be showing their presence and there will be more police patrols over the next couple of days. It is the rule of six or two households. It is very clear and police will be making that clear to people."

Assistant chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Steve Cooper, said there will be more visible patrols at The Arboretum over the next week as well as open spaces such as The Forest Rec and Victoria Embankment.

Fines of £200 will be issued to anyone breaching the Covid guidelines.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: "We are really disappointed by the behaviour we saw there last night. Now is not the time to act like the rules have been totally withdrawn.

"We are near the end and the vast majority of the people there won't have been vaccinated and they could now end up spreading the virus in the community - that's what we are trying to stop. It is not stopping people having fun it is the consequences of the virus."

Both universities have been contacted - Nottingham Trent and the University of Nottingham for a comment but no one has got back to Nottinghamshire Live yet.

Officers at gates of The Arboretum in Nottingham as 'selfish minority' wreak havoc - Nottinghamshire Live

Outraged residents believe Arboretum is just 'playground for students'

Urgent police meeting held after scenes of partying, fighting and no social distancing

Outraged residents believe action is needed to reclaim back a beauty spot which has been destroyed by partying students.

The Arboretum Residents' Association said Monday night's partying at The Arboretum was "disgusting" and the park is now just "a playground for students."

They described how residents in the area can no longer use the beauty spot and believe action is needed as the weather improves.

Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said an urgent meeting was called with Chief Constable from Nottinghamshire Police Craig Guildford on Tuesday morning to discuss a way forward. 

He said the park will not be closed but patrols need to be ramped up to ensure the area is not thrown into another lockdown if coronavirus cases rise.

Shocking footage emerged over social media of large groups gathering with no social distancing, dancing, fighting, drinking, with some people climbing trees.

A spokeswoman for the The Arboretum Residents' Association said: "This is the fourth time this has happened.

"It is not changing and students are not changing their behaviour one little bit and none of us will now go through The Arboretum.

"There was groups of 25 people sitting together last night with no social distancing. 

"I feel sorry for the police but they were not dispersing them. 

"There was a sea of people - you could smell the cannabis in the street and the noise was horrendous.

"It is not a park anymore it is a playground for students. We can't face this the whole summer."

Mr Tipping said "more visible patrols" are needed. 

He told Nottinghamshire Live: "I know young people are fatigued and it has been a hard year and I sympathise with them. 

"I would like to celebrate but the time to celebrate is getting past Covid and parties like this - dancing, drinking in big groups does not help.

"I think we need to talk to our colleagues at Nottingham City Council - that there is a more visible presence there. 

"It is a great park and I want other people to enjoy it but we can only enjoy it properly when we are through lockdown and we are not at the moment.

"I think we will see more community protection officers and more police Operation Byron patrols in the area."

Nottinghamshire Police were contacted for a comment on future plans for policing the park and if any arrests or fines were handed out last night. 

No one has responded. 

Nottingham City Council has also been contacted and a response will be released later today.

Speaking on Monday evening, Inspector Paul Molloy, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "While we can of course understand people’s desire to want to be out in the sun and enjoying these mild temperatures we are currently experiencing, the government and our health colleagues remain extremely cautious and advise that people continue to minimise social contact.

"We would like to remind people that we are still only partly out of lockdown measures.

"Today has seen the easing of some of the restrictions but we are still required to keep our distance from each other and only mix with one other household outdoors, up to six people.

"We are aware of a number of residents choosing to be out in the Arboretum this evening and our officers are now engaging with people to ensure they are still sticking to the rules. 

"It is up to us all to keep to the measures so we can continue on the roadmap out of lockdown, by keeping the virus at bay."

Outraged residents believe Arboretum is just 'playground for students' - Nottinghamshire Live

Nottinghamshire Police say they were 'caught by surprise' over speed and scale of huge Arboretum party

Assistant chief constable says force will change its policing response after mass park gathering

A Nottinghamshire police chief says "the speed and scale" in which hundreds of party-goers descended on a city park was like nothing they have seen during the pandemic.

Hundreds of students armed with beer crates broke the rule of six or two household rule by staging a mass gathering in The Arboretum on Monday, March 29.

This was on the first day new guidelines came into effect with assistant chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police Steve Cooper calling the scenes "disappointing and irresponsible."

The leader of Nottingham City Council Cllr David Mellen said the gathering was "jeopardising the strides" being made to reduce the Covid-19 spread in Nottingham which has already taken more than 600 lives.

Shocking footage emerged on social media of revellers climbing trees, fighting, dancing in large groups and spraying alcohol into the air.

Residents said the noise was "horrendous" and the smell of cannabis flooded nearby streets with some avoiding the park as a result.

The following morning (March 30) the park was in a terrible state with beer crates, bottles, cans and barbecue sets strewn across the grass.

The Arboretum gates will now be guarded by community protection officers with alcohol being taken off anyone who enters the park.

Police will also issue £200 fines to people in the park breaching Covid-19 guidelines with extra patrols in force throughout Easter.

This will also expand to the Victoria Embankment and the Forest Recreation Ground.

ACC Cooper said police did attend the mass gathering of 'hundreds' on Monday, March 30, but they were "caught by surprise."

Some revellers refused to leave the area when they were confronted by officers and police were forced to keep revellers contained in the park to protect the public on nearby streets.

He said a number of fines were handed out as a result.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: "The scale and speed people gathered yesterday is something we have not seen during any previous easing of restrictions, even in the summer with the pubs reopening.

"The speed at which people gathered at The Arboretum compared to how people have previously been behaving caught us by surprise.

"We are now changing our policing response accordingly."

ACC Cooper said people were acting like restrictions had been "totally withdrawn" and "increased visibility" will now be in place at a number of open spaces.

"The easing of restrictions, which is only a minor easing, meant people used that excuse and the warm weather to behave in a fully unacceptable way," he added.

"We are near the end and the vast majority of the people at The Arboretum won't have been vaccinated.

"They could now end up spreading the virus in the community - that's what we are trying to stop.

"It is not stopping people from having fun, it is the consequences of the virus."

The Arboretum Residents' Association said they are "disgusted" by what happened on Monday.

Pat Robinson, 78, from the group, said: "The litter, the smoking of dope, the alcohol - they don't care about anyone. The police can do nothing and they are putting two fingers up.

"Residents avoid The Arboretum because of the state it is in. It is not a student area. It is a residential area where students have come to live."

Another resident from the group who did not wish to be named added: "It is not a park anymore it is a playground for students. We can't face this the whole summer."

Students Cameron Thiolewll, 22, and Emi-Lou Bull, 24, were in Arboretum yesterday evening, sitting on the grass away from the crowds.

Mr Thiolewll said: "Everyone just needs to clean up after themselves, it’s not that hard.

"This park is the only thing giving life at the moment, so it’s a real shame when this happens.

"It’s just decency."

Miss Bull added: "It's ridiculous. We were here yesterday trying to stay away from the crowds. It’s just about having common sense in my opinion."

Sian Steams, 33, lives in Raleigh Street and uses the park to walk her dog. She added: "Usually I would come here to walk my dog in the morning and I have to be careful because he might eat the glass and get sick.

"You would expect parks to be nicer during lockdown, but this is horrible. Young people need to have fun and need to have a release, but not like this."

No one from Nottingham Trent University or the University of Nottingham responded to Nottinghamshire Live when we contacted them for a statement.

Councillor David Mellen, leader of the city council said: "The scenes from the Arboretum yesterday evening are extremely disappointing, with a selfish minority abusing the easing of restrictions and spoiling it for others.

"We have all made sacrifices over the last year to keep each other safe. Over 600 local people have died due to the virus.

"We owe it to their families, to each other and to frontline workers not to jeopardise the strides we have made towards reducing the spread of Covid by acting so thoughtlessly and recklessly.

"We have had discussions with senior police officers and there will be increased presence in our parks.

"Drinking alcohol in public spaces is not permitted in Nottingham and will be seized on entry to our parks today.

"It’s also totally unacceptable for people to litter our parks in this way. Parks have been a lifeline for many during the pandemic and our staff have worked tirelessly to keep them open, clean and safe.

"It’s not too much to ask that if bins are full, people take their rubbish away with them and dispose of it responsibly.

"I’m grateful to both universities who have offered help to clean up today. We want our parks to remain somewhere everyone can enjoy."

Nottinghamshire Police say they were 'caught by surprise' over speed and scale of huge Arboretum party - Nottinghamshire Live

See Also:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9417347/Fury-beauty-spots-left-strewn-litter-Happy-Monday-celebrations.html

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