How Council enforcement officers are helping to clean up city streets

Published Monday, 27 September 2021

Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers (NEOs) patrol Coventry’s streets, parks and the city centre, working in neighbourhoods across the city every day, helping to combat and reduce the problem of fly-tipping.

Flytipping

To give you an insight into their work we recently went out with two of the NEOs – part of the Street Enforcement Team - to see the challenges they face, and how they go about reducing the amount of waste on our streets.  

It was 7.15am and I met up with the Sharron and Chris in Jubilee Crescent, Radford. Sharron has been working as an NEO for the past seven years and concentrates her efforts on those streets in the city where - she explains - environmental issues are more of a problem.

The team work from 7am till 7pm each day, helping tackle the type of environmental crime issues that people see when they walk out of their front doors. 

“We operate city-wide and can quickly be deployed to where it is needed most, “explained Sharron.

“We visit locations based upon information and intelligence received from local people and other colleagues in the City Council and also from our partners like the Police and Housing Associations.

“This location in Jubilee Crescent is well known to us and visits are made frequently to prevent fly-tipping.”

Looking around it appeared that a crew had been out and collected a previously reported fly tip.

Sharron and Chris investigated some of the side streets to see if they could find any fly tipping present and we came across some bins with excess waste, they went through the bags to gather evidence. Reports were sent out to crews to come and collect the bins.

“We always check through waste for any evidence”, Sharron explained. “This will often indicate where the waste originated from. This is important because we will prosecute and charge people if we find people are knowingly dumping waste.”

Next, we visited Holmsdale Rd off Foleshill Rd. Sharon told me it was an area where fly tipping and waste is a regular problems but when we arrived there was a clear sign of improvements and that the hard work of officers and local people was paying off.

Sharron said: “Sometimes we can arrive at a location where there has been previous problems and can be pleasantly surprised.  

“We know that the vast majority of people get rid of their waste responsibly. But for some people it is about education while for others the only real solution is prosecution.

”Reports from residents are important and this can be done anonymously.”

Late in the morning the team got reports of a fly tip on Gulson Road. We arrived and found two separate fly tips on the road. Members of the community came forward and told us details about it that helped the crew narrow down the time it happened.

Sharron said: “Information from the community is vital in helping us address waste issues longer term.”

The other rubbish that was present was next to a commercial bin which was paid for by a landlord for his three properties on the road.

Unfortunately, as there was only one bin for three properties, this led to the bin constantly overflowing.

The landlord came out to speak to us to about the problem he was having and the officers contacted the officer/case worker responsible for the area and made them aware of the situation, they resolved the issue by requesting bins for the three properties.

Sharron said: “At times it can be a difficult job but most people are supportive of the work we do. As I’ve said, the more information we get the more we can do to resolve the issue for people.”

In 20/21 there were 10727 cases of fly-tipping, but it is important to state that the vast majority of residents dispose of rubbish correctly and legally. The Council has taken 6346 actions against those responsible during that time, which includes warning notices, fixed penalties or prosecutions.

Anyone can report fly-tipping incidents anonymously via our flytipping webpage or by calling 08085 834333 .

Existing approaches to fly-tipping and new ones planned include:

  • Targeting resources to the areas worst affected by fly-tipping
  • Increased foot patrols in areas worst affected
  • Co-ordinated educational campaigns in harder to reach areas
  • Use of CCTV in the worst affected streets
  • Encouraging the public to notify the Council as and when these incidents occur
  • Encouraging the public to come forward with any intel as to who may be responsible
  • Continuing to investigate ALL reported incidents across the city and take appropriate formal action as and when required

NEOS investigate a range of issues in the city including:

  • Issue fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling offences concentrating on those parts of the city where Coventry citizens tell us that there is a problem.
  • Deal with the identification of abandoned vehicles and empty homes in the city.
  • Gather and secure evidence from fly-tipping episodes, on behalf of the Street Enforcement team, so that we are able to pursue these offenders through the courts to secure a prosecution.
  • Identify and report where accumulations of refuse in gardens is likely to cause public health problems and attract rodents so that improvement notices can be served on the owners of the property.
  • Administer projects like 'bins off streets' and 'hot streets', which are designed to reduce fly-tipping and improve the cleanliness of our streets.

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