Neighbourhood enforcement team update
1. Update from the Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer
The NEO is part of the Community Safety Group, we partner with mental health agencies, the police and others. Our focus is on environmental crime, noise nuisance, and low-level antisocial behaviour. Budget cuts mean we have only nine staff working across York, with three covering north York (including Clifton).
Particular problems we have noted in Clifton are: dog fouling, noisy neighbours, and fly-tipping. Dog fouling may be a seasonal problem. If we witness a fouling, then we can issue an on-the-spot fine, but it is very difficult to deal with unless we have witness statements. We do dog fouling patrols, and we can patrol areas at times when particular problems have been reported to occur, for instance doing 6am patrols. But the hours we spend on these patrols have to come off other work.
The biggest problem in Clifton has been noisy neighbours. We operate a noise patrol on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9pm to 3am, this can sometimes be very busy; for instance, we recently had twenty-eight calls in one night. We only have two people working between an office and a vehicle so sometimes callers will get through to an answer machine, but we always call them back.
We can approach noisy neighbours on behalf of callers, and issue warnings, and if necessary take further legal action to prevent reoccurrence of the nuisance. For instance, we were recently called to a loud Karaoke party late at night in Clifton, the complainant allowed us to measure the noise level in their property which meant that we were able to issue the offenders with a legal warning such that we could take them to court if they caused a noise nuisance again.
The other major issue in the area is fly-tipping and bags-out-early. We have had some problems with this since bags-out-early has been decriminalised, so to tackle fly-tipping we really need witness statements. We have a team rooting through tipped bags, but we need four pieces of evidence to identify offenders, and a witness statement to enforce the law. We are currently working out evidence on twenty-five addresses.
We can issue an on-the-spot fine for fly-tipping. The cost of prosecution previously made it unviable. We have only had the power to fine for four weeks but we have already issued two fines.
There is sometimes an issue with residents not knowing who they can complain to about fly-tipping – we are on the council website, but not everyone uses the web so we are trying to get out word about the service.
Part of the problem with fly-tipping may be the transient community in Clifton, although students are often unfairly blamed. There is also an issue with some of the terrace houses not having wheelie bins – they still use bags, and sometimes residents decide they don’t want the bags near their property. The refuse team are looking at transitioning the bag areas to wheelie bins, however there are some problems with this – wheelie bins won’t go down the alleys.
The Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer can be contacted Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 (01904) 551555, email@example.com
Police 101 will sometimes pass on the number for the noise patrol. People can call 101, if they are concerned about an incident, and if the operator identifies that if it isn’t a more serious crime, they will give the noise patrol number.
Floor: I’ve called the noise patrol, they were very useful.
Cllr Myers: Please tell other people about the noise patrol – we want more people to know about it.
Floor: Is it possible to provide a skip? [to prevent fly-tipping]
Cllr Myers: That’s a good point, there has been an increase in fly-tipping in the area at the end of the letting season. We are going to contact the Association of Landlords about this; if their landlords were to contact us, we might be able to work something out, maybe getting a skip, but the funding would need to be worked out.
Elkie Dixon: We have had end-of-tenancy fly-tipping issues in the Horner Street area. We have sent letters to houses in that area warning not to fly-tip. We are considering placing CCTV in the area, and speaking to the Highways team to see if we can get a permanent installation.
Floor: we have some great noticeboards in Clifton, could some of those warning letters be displayed in the noticeboards? Students are likely to read them.
Cllr Myers: The noticeboards are run by the CRA, they are part of the ward team, maybe this could be raised at the next CRA meeting?