Locals judge Operation Oak
A survey obtained by JesmondLocal suggests local residents believe a high-visibility police operation launched in Jesmond earlier this year has been a success.
Operation Oak was established in January to combat noise and alcohol-related anti-social behaviour commonly associated with student parties and the concentration of bars on Osborne Road.
The operation sees two dedicated officers patrolling the streets of Jesmond during the hours of darkness.
More than 200 residents were contacted by telephone and asked about their experiences of crime and the police.
Overall, 94% of participants said that they feel safe in Jesmond, although only 15% said they walked alone in the area after dark on a daily basis.
While few residents believe that noise from bars and clubs is an issue, it is the associated rowdiness and drunken behaviour that is a concern for many: one-third said it is a significant problem.
But a high proportion of residents do report such concerns; almost a quarter have used one of the two non-emergency numbers to report a minor crime or nuisance behaviour.
The survey also asked Jesmond residents what additional problems could be tackled in the neighbourhood.
“Most participants complained about vehicle related problems including parking, car crime and damage to cars. Participants also identified other forms of anti-social behaviour and notably rubbish and littering and the poor state of properties owned by private landlords,” said the report.
The survey showed that 89% of respondents agreed with the statement ‘taking everything into account, I have confidence in the police in my local area’, up from 70% on last year’s self-completion-survey.
However, Northumbria Police have suggested that the survey is not without its limitations:
“Comparisons between self-completion and telephone surveys should be viewed with some caution,” said a spokesperson. “The telephone survey was an opportunity to raise awareness about the initiative, which in turn may have generated a positive perception of policing activities more generally.”
Despite the success of Operation Oak, Northumbria Police believe there is still room for improvement: “The initiative is having a positive impact but its impact could be improved by continuing to raise awareness of policing and partnership services.”