26 September 2014, 06:00
An Anti-Noise Helpline is back and running in the Hatfield area - in time for the Freshers Weeks at University.
A previously successful service to help residents by tackling night time anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance in Welwyn Hatfield returns today (Friday 26th), to coincide with the new academic year.
The nightly call-out service, called Operation Balsam runs until Friday 12 October. The council's Environmental Health team will join Hertfordshire Police Officers to proactively deal with noise complaints from residents and put special priority on calls from, or about, students during this period.
The operation is a partnership between Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Hertfordshire Constabulary, and the University of Hertfordshire, which funds it (it's in addition to the council service, Operation Reprise, which runs Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year).
Residents can report concerns about noise, anti-social behaviour and other related disturbances to the police on 101 or to the council on 0800 111 4484.
Councillor Mandy Perkins, Executive Member for Governance and Public Health told Heart: "We've found, as a partnership, that this is a really useful extension to the council service run over weekends throughout the year, as during late May and September, students are leaving and then returning to university in high spirits and making the most of the social aspects of student life."
Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Adam Willmot said: "Operation Balsam has many facets and is aimed at helping the students to integrate successfully into the local community.
One of those facets is the partnership patrol work aimed at educating the students about the impact that noise can have on other members of the community and whilst there are sanctions for those who go too far too often most of the students are receptive to advice in the first instance.
For many of the students this is their first time away from home so they need help and advice not just about standards of behaviour and social responsibility but also about how to avoid becoming victims of crime or getting involved with drugs."
Geraldine Ward, Deputy Dean of Students at the University of Hertfordshire, added: "As the University and the community welcomes new students to Hatfield, we understand that they will be excited but we need to make sure we maintain a balance - they need to be aware of their responsibilities as neighbours and have a safe and happy start to the year. We are dedicated to working with residents to try and resolve any concerns and this initiative will allow us to do so."