July 1st, 2009

No noise is good noise

Posted in The Job - General by 200

The control room is often the first point of call for complaints. We get lots of complaints, some more valid than others. Actually, some aren’t valid at all.

A lot of complaints are about the police refusing to deal with somebody’s problem. Often, there are good reasons for this, mostly it’s because the cause for the call is “not a police matter”.

A popular call we receive is about noisy neighbours. This is usually a complaint that someone can’t get to sleep because of loud music or their Sunday afternoon peace is beinb shattered due to an inconsiderate neighbour’s power-tools.

Some years ago the government decided it was a good idea to remove what were previously part of the police’s responsibilities to other agencies. We had PCSOs to take on low-level anti-social behaviour. The Highways Agency took on some of the responsibilities on the mitorways & fast roads network. Local parking issues were transferred to the local authorities and noise nuisance problems were given to environmental health departments to sort out.

The idea with noise was that an Environmental Health Officer from the council could attend a noisy party, issue a noise abatement order & sieze equipment from those who declined to turn down the noise. All well & good in theory. Except the councils were expected to fund this extra work from existing budgets. In most councils there is more chance of seeing Lord Lucan riding Shergar down the High Street than seeing  an EHO after 6pm.

This is the cause for much ire & frustration amongst the local populace. So we take a lot of calls which are complaints against police. Mr Jacobs phoned up today to make an official complaint because police wouldn’t stop his neighbour playing loud music. He was advised to contact the local environmental health department whose responsibility it is to deal with noise issues. The fact that the local council, for whatever reason, only provide an out of hours service during the summer months on a Friday & Saturday nights is immaterial to Mr Jacobs, who says it is the police at fault & wants to speak to an Inspector about the issue.

Doubtless the inspector will apologise but repeat what Mr Jacobs has already been told by several different people. It may or may not be recorded as an official complaint against police. Whilst you can understand his frustration it’s a little bit like ringing Tescos to complain that they are refusing to service your car.

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