Police, council and university leaders across the city and county have pledged their commitment to working together in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Today (Monday) sees the implementation of new rules as set out by the Government which limits the numbers gathering in a social capacity to just six people at any one time.

Nottinghamshire Police is working alongside local authorities across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire along with the city’s two universities to send out a clear message about everyone following the new rules.

Preventing the spread of the virus is a shared effort and police will play their part alongside government, businesses, hospitality owners, local authorities and others.  

This is about ensuring everyone takes responsibility in all households to follow the rules.

The pledge also comes just days before students return to Nottingham as studies resume at both the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University.

Universities re-opening is an important step in a return to a more normal world and all agencies recognise the contribution that students – many of whom come from the city and county – make to the economy, culture and society.

The vast majority of residents, including students, are responsible people. However, deliberate deviation from these rules could see swift action including fines, and even loss of tenancy agreements and for students this could include the loss of university places in extreme cases.

The leaders are keen to ensure that people take personal responsibility to follow the rules to limit the impact of Covid-19.

Nottinghamshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell, who is gold lead on the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire LRF, said: “The new rules are clear and we all have a personal responsibility for following them to help stop of the spread of a deadly virus.

“Police will continue to be in communities and engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow the new regulations. We will disperse groups of over six and issue fines to those who refuse to comply.

“This is about us taking action for any breaches in any part of the city or county, not just with students. That is why we are working together across the LRF partnership to deal with anyone who is causing issues, wherever they live. While we are working with the universities, this is a wider issue than just being about students.

“In most situations, we are sure we can resolve breaches without having to issue a fine, but let’s be clear – if people deliberately flout the rules and put other people’s lives in danger we will not hesitate to issue fines. Those who choose to flout the rules and hold house parties will be dealt with.

“The demands on the police service are now back to pre-Covid levels making it even more important that everyone takes personal responsibility so police involvement is a last resort.”

Over the nexttwo weeksmore than 4,500 students are likely to take up residence in some of the more densely populated parts of the city, including Lenton and the Arboretum areas.

The students are being encouraged to ensure they follow the new “rule of six” Covid-19 guidelines, while at the same time also being good neighbours to those living around them.

As always, this includes keeping noise levels to a minimum, not throwing house parties and not exhibiting anti-social behaviour.

All households in the area will receive a hand-delivered letter from the police, Nottingham City Council, Broxtowe Borough Council and two universities setting out the need to be good, considerate, members of the community. It also informs all residents, not just students, about the powers available to tackle antisocial behaviour, particularly house parties.

The City Council’s Community Protection Service works closely with both universities and has a variety of powers to tackle anti-social behaviour including civil injunctions, closure orders and breach of tenancy.

Cllr David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “We look forward to welcoming students back to our city – but it is important that they understand that we now live in a different world, where Covid-19 is present in our communities. Everyone has a part to play to save lives and to stop the spread of this virus – and this includes students.

“The guidance is clear that everyone should maintain social distance, wear a face covering, wash hands and get a test if they have symptoms. This also now includes guidance on not meeting in social groups larger than six people. It’s a lot of responsibility to put on young people who are away from home for first time, but we expect them to help keep our city safe.

“We value the contribution students make to our city. They help boost the economy by millions of pounds every year and the vast majority cause no issues at all. We simply ask our students and young people to be mindful of the communities in which they live, not just in stopping the spread of Covid, but in being good neighbours generally. Instances of anti-social behaviour do happen, from loud parties to littering, and we continue to work closely with the universities and landlords to get the message across to students that they have a responsibility to their neighbourhoods.”

Leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, Councillor Milan Radulovic MBE added: “Students play a big part in our local community, especially in Beeston and we don’t want the pandemic to stop this. This clear guidance on what is acceptable is a really positive step in making sure they act responsibly when supporting our local businesses, using our local facilities and interacting with other residents and is something we can all take heed of, not just the students.

Universities also have the power, through student disciplinary codes, to tackle those causing a nuisance in the community.

Speaking jointly, the Vice-Chancellors from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University, Professors Shearer West and Edward Peck, said: “Both of Nottingham’s universities welcome students to our city and invite them to be an integral part of the communities in which they live. The vast majority of students make an active and positive contribution economically, culturally, through volunteering activities and simply by being good neighbours.

“We work alongside Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire Police and a range of partners to ensure that this integration is as smooth as possible, with a raft of measures such as expected standards of behaviour for our students and the funding of Community Protection Officer (CPO) Patrols to mitigate misconduct.

“This year we recognise that the Coronavirus presents exceptional and individual challenges to every Nottingham citizen and that any incident of antisocial behaviour, such as not respecting the latest Government guidance on social distancing measures, has the potential to put lives at risk.

“All of our students will be required to sign and adhere to updated Codes of Conduct which include these guidelines. Where incidents do occur we will be uncompromising in the use of the disciplinary powers available to us.

“This includes, in addition to university procedures, the legal powers available to CPOs to issue fines, civil injunctions and closure orders. In the most serious of cases students can findthemselves removed from their accommodation, suspended from their course, and/or with a criminal record. “We are incredibly proud of our students and their positive contribution to the communities in which they live, study and work. The Coronavirus is unchartered territory for all of us and we can only seek to conquer its effects by treating all members of our community with respect.”