A PETITION has been launched to convince Falmouth University to fund a police officer and "win the hearts and minds" of the community, but the universities have said they will not consider the idea at this point. 

Sarah Forbes wants to bridge the gap between the student population and locals who feel that the Falmouth and Penryn are being "flooded" by students.

She says that the police officer would keep young and vulnerable students safe as much as they would help crack down on excessive noise in student-heavy areas.

Sarah said: "I think there is more the university can do to safeguard the people of this town, students and locals alike. I am acutely aware that anti-social behaviour is not confined to students and this is not about branding students as trouble, it's about keeping everyone as safe as possible.

"My concern is the sheer volume of people flooded into our community with virtually no police presence at night.

"The town has accommodated many changes good and bad brought about by the presence of the university, I believe this is a very easy and affordable way to win the hearts and minds of the local community."

Inspector Ian Thompson from Falmouth Police said: “We have a great working relationship with the university and work closely on a day to day basis in areas such as prevention activity, safety campaigns and when appropriate, enforcement.

“There are some huge challenges to address and overcome before we could progress the idea forward but I would certainly welcome those conversations so we could discuss what the role would look like in order to meet our joint objectives while considering the associated funding and contractual aspects.”

Sarah Forbes says that in her experience, students coming to Falmouth can be naive about the reality of living away from home for the first time.

She said: "I have walked into houses where there are girls completely incapacitated. Falmouth is not a chocolate box like the university makes it out to be."

The idea for a university-funded police officer came from a similar scheme run by Northumbria and Newcastle universities called 'Operation Oak' in which the two institutions jointly pay for extra patrols on Friday and Saturday nights during term time in key student areas.

But a spokesperson for the universities said they are not considering the idea at this point. 

Anna Brown, on behalf of Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, said: "We are not currently considering funding additional policing. We greatly value our relationship with our neighbours and the vast majority of our students are responsible members of our community.

"We work closely with Devon and Cornwall Police – who are responsible for the allocation of their staff - and with Cornwall Council and Falmouth and Penryn Town Councils to listen to and act upon any concerns from residents.”

Click here for the full petition.