‘Safer Partying’ film launched by City Council

Local Jesmond residences.
Image: Trevor Littlewood, GeographLocal Jesmond residences. Image: Trevor Littlewood, Geograph

Newcastle City Council hosted the official launch of their Safer Partying film at the Council Chamber, Newcastle Civic Centre on Tuesday 25th April.

The film, made up of several shorter videos, shows the possible dangerous consequences of hosting out-of-control parties in student houses.

The film is the result of a collaboration between Newcastle City Council, Northumbria Police, Tyne and Wear Fire & Rescue Service, and North East Ambulance Service.

The film uses student actors and depicts six dangerous house party scenarios. These include a fire breaking out while the windows and doors of the house are blocked, the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, a sexual assault, a drugs arrest, and a fatality. The videos are aimed at second year students who have left university halls and are hosting large-scale parties in private rented housing, with Jesmond being the main problematic area.

Nick Kemp, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation, spoke of the rising concerns that contributed to this project. He said:

“We all know that students like to have a good time and party but we are increasingly concerned about the nature of some parties.”

“They are being held in terraced houses and attracting hundreds of students through social media. Add to that large amounts of alcohol, drugs and doorways blocked with settees, mattresses and furniture and we have potentially a very dangerous situation.

“These videos are designed to show the consequences of what can go wrong. We want students to watch them and think twice about their behaviour so they don’t put themselves and others at risk.”

The fears for student safety that motivated The Safer Partying Film are compounded by the increasing frustrations of local residents.

In November 2016, The Courier reported increasing tensions between students and residents in popular student areas such as Jesmond. Recurring issues were noise complaints, overturned bins, and reports of anti-social behaviour.

Reports show that in the two-month period from September to November 2016, the University had already dealt with noise complaints involving 401 students from 84 different properties.

More recently, a post on ChronicleLive from the 28th of April this year displayed photographs of destruction on a street in Jesmond following an out-of-control party. It reported that gatherings like these are “making Jesmond residents’ lives hell”.

The Safer Partying film aims to make students aware of the dangers of hosting large-scale house parties and encourage safe and responsible behaviour. Northumbria Police’s Chief Superintendent Neil Hutchison expressed his views:

“We don’t want to be seen as the fun police but students need to recognise that lives are being put at risk. Alcohol, drugs, loud music and hundreds of party goers is a recipe for disaster.

“It can only be a matter of time before we are talking about a tragedy and this video is about educating people in how to enjoy parties in a safe and responsible manner while showing respect to the local communities in which they live.”

Newcastle City Council, along with several authoritative bodies across the city, are set to share the videos on their social media channels. The Council believes that this is the most effective way to reach students and achieve the greatest impact on the target audience.

Both Newcastle University and Newcastle University Students’ Union have stated that they support the larger messages behind the film.

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