Because we are aware of an increase in police patrols in the student areas of Newcastle due to the Covid restrictions we wanted to find out more.? Of course we all have responsibilities in doing what is asked to stop the spread of the virus but we have heard of some worries and concerns from students who have had a visit from Police Officers or Covid Wardens.? The NUSU Sabbatical Officers have also heard from students who are concerned about the Police visits being Covid secure, asking why student areas are being focused on, and also for information on their rights during a visit from the Police or City Council.
The pandemic is creating new issues every day for everyone and because we want to make sure you have your questions answered the President, Welfare and Equality Officer and the AU Officer acted as the student voice in a recent Q&A session with Northumbria Police, the City Council and both Newcastle and Northumbria Uni.
Watch the video to find out the answers to questions including the student community feeling targeted, your rights following a complaint and what powers the Covid Wardens have.
Because there was a lot to discuss, the video is over 1hr long, skip through using the timings below.
4mins Q1 – Can a student who is shielding refuse access to Operation Oak visit?
7mins Q2 – What are the rules outdoors?
8mins Q3 – Can students who are self-isolating leave Halls to exercise or for fresh air?
14mins Q4 – What are students’ rights if they are questioned?
18mins Q5 – How is the spread on the virus being minimised with so many house calls in one night?
21mins Q6 – How can we help students who feel intimated by increased police presence?
22 mins Q7 – What can students do if officers don’t have on correct PPE?
24mins Q8 – Are residents targeting students with unnecessary complaints?
27mins Q9 – What advice is there for students who have created new ‘households’?
32mins Q10 – Who can we send reports to about residents taking their own action?
34mins Q 11 – What powers do the Covid Wardens have? A discussion takes place covering other issues around the introduction of Covid Wardens.
46mins Q12 – Can student ask for Officers to remain outside during any questioning?
47mins Q13 – Moving away from covid rules but a highly important question on how students can come forward in regards to drug use. A discussion takes place giving further information.
56mins Q14 – Is mental health being compromised by the increase of patrols?
59mins Q15 – How are the police helping to tackle the scapegoating stigma students are experiencing?
1hr Q16- How can students report issues?
* OPERATION OAK*
Operation Oak is a partnership between Northumbria Police and Newcastle’s two universities, with the universities funding additional police patrols in residential areas which have high numbers of students, such as Jesmond, Sandyford, Heaton and Ouseburn.
On call from 10pm to 4.00am, Operation Oak supports students and permanent residents on matters such as safety, noise complaints and tackling crime.
During the Covid19 pandemic, Operation Oak will operate every evening from 18 September to 19 December 2020, and it will then be reviewed for 2021. In previous years it has operated on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings in term time, and for major events.