STUDENTS starting university this month are urged to stay safe and respect their new home by police.

Last week marked the beginning of Freshers’ Week with first year university students from across the world moving to Newcastle and Sunderland.

With most students now settled into their new digs and ready for lectures, seminars and nights out , Northumbria Police officers have been patrolling university campuses and residential areas as part of Operation Oak to offer crime prevention advice and target those not showing respect to their neighbours.

The operation has been in place for nearly a decade and will see a dedicated resource in place to patrol student areas on busy nights.

Chief Inspector Steve Wykes has encouraged students to stop and speak to those local neighbourhood officers out on patrol if they have concerns.

He said: "Starting university is a very exciting time for these young people, many of whom have left home for the first time.

“It is a time to make new friends and begin a new chapter in your life but it is also really important to remember the importance of looking after yourself.

“We have already seen a number of Freshers’ events taking place across Newcastle and down the road in Sunderland that I’m sure students have enjoyed.

“As part of that we have had officers coming into the universities to deliver talks about personal safety, particularly about vulnerability, and I hoped students took that message on board.“Our top priority is to keep everyone safe but we need you to work with us, whether that is by keeping your accommodation locked, planning a night out in advance or drinking responsibly. It is also important to respect your local communities and your neighbours. Not everyone wants to party on a Wednesday night and you need to remember that there are often elderly people or young families living on your street.

“This is particularly relevant to those living in residential areas in places like Heaton and Jesmond and it is here that we will be conducting our Operation Oak patrols.

“We are here for both students and residents and if you have any concerns then we want you to feel comfortable enough to approach our officers and ask for help.

"Tell us about any issues you are experiencing and we can give advice or guidance so we can make your university experience a safe one.”

Operation Oak is part-funded by Northumbria University and the University of Newcastle and is predominantly focused in Jesmond and Heaton. For details and advice visit