Operation Oak was funded by both Newcastle and Northumbria University, to provide extra policing in residential areas with a high student density. In light of Newcastle’s local lockdown, this operation includes daily police patrols.
Working alongside Northumbria Police, the two universities will invest around £125,000 a year to fund Operation Oak with the intend to fund extra patrols to cover every night from last weekend until Christmas.
These patrols will cover Jesmond, Sandyford, Heaton, and Ouseburn - Newcastle’s main student hubs.
Operation Oak is one of the many measures being undertaken by Newcastle University to ensure the safe return of students to university.
Additional measures include campus changes, one-way systems, and defined points of entry; as well as socially distanced catering, hand sanitisation points, track and trace systems, increased cleaning, and 65,000 care packs.
Newcastle University’s UCU (University and College Union) stated in a tweet: “The fact that the university has the money to fund the police to do nightly patrols of student hubs for the next 3+ months is news to us. Staff have to pay for any equipment needed to provide online learning from home because the uni ‘can’t afford to’.”
“The fact that the university has the money to fund the police to do nightly patrols of student hubs for the next 3+ months is news to us. Staff have to pay for any equipment needed to provide online learning from home because the uni ‘can’t afford to’.”Newcastle University’s UCU via Twitter
“This is to say nothing about the fact that recently promoted colleagues have been told there is no money to pay for their promotions and they’re in name (and presumably workload) only”
Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, said: “The safe return of students to university and to the community is an absolute priority for us. By working with our partners Northumbria University and Northumbria Police to increase the number of Operation Oak patrols we hope to keep students and residents as safe as possible during these difficult times.”
Chief Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police, said: “Operation Oak has been an overwhelming success in recent years as we look to keep residents and students safe, and that would not have been possible without the ongoing support of the universities.
“We would ask everyone to make yourself aware of and adhere to the Government’s latest restrictions, and our officers will be carrying out targeted patrols in student communities to engage positively with them and ensure everyone is remaining safe.”
To contact Operation Oak about student behaviour, text on 07504 898148 – or contact the Police on 101.