To receive the report of Dean Sargeant (Director: Neighbourhood & Enforcement Services).
The Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Services will attend for this item.
The Committee received the report of the Director: Neighbourhood & Enforcement Services.
Members heard that the report was an update on the work of the Neighbourhood Enforcement team in 2020 and an overview of the team’s areas of focus for 2021 to date. Key themes included tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB), investigating environmental crime, the rollout of civil parking enforcement powers, and CCTV works. The team’s work was underpinned by intelligence and data but engagement and education remained key.
In tackling ASB, there was a dedicated reporting line, which picked up a number of issues for the team to investigate. Fly-tipping constituted a part of this work and there had been an increase in this activity during the pandemic.
Partnership work with the police and other agencies, through the MATES programme, was of the utmost importance. The pooling of information and intelligence allowed for a single approach to ASB and criminal behaviour across the Borough.
In its work, the Council utilised all of the tools and powers available to it; proactive use of a significant CCTV system that covered the Borough’s town centres were a part of this strategy.
The Authority had taken on civil littering from vehicles legislation and was holding the registered keeper of such vehicles from which littering occurred to account. Fines of £150 would be issued to the keeper of these vehicles. From May 2021 to the date of the meeting, over 60 fines of this nature had been issued. Officers stressed that fine targets were not used.
Work had also been carried out targeting fly-posting, abandoned vehicles, and unauthorised encampment. There had been over 7500 reports of fly-tipping, over 580 abandoned vehicles, and over 189 reports of graffiti.
Civil parking enforcement powers had been acquired in 2020 but implementation of the powers had been delayed due to Covid-19. Almost 7000 tickets had been issued since implementation and complaints around officer conduct were low.
The CCTV project had been significant, with the establishing of a control room at Oakengates that was staffed by volunteers and the camera stock of the Borough nearing 500 cameras. Existing cameras had been upgraded and now provided high quality images.
A discussion followed and Members posed a number of questions:
There was concern that people did not report matters to the police as often as they should, could people be encouraged to do so?
There was a misconception that people did not report, people did report and when they did, the Council had provided CCTV images to assist the police where possible.
Norbroom Park, Newport, had been subject to significant and ongoing vandalism, could roaming CCTV be utilised at the park?
While there could be an issue, due to a lack of lighting, the Authority could look into the matter.
Who was responsible for the removal of waste fly-tipped on private land?
The legislation covering the matter mandated that the Council support investigations into such fly-tipping, however, the responsibility for removal lay with the landowner.
How could those affected be assisted?
CCTV could be deployed in key areas to deter fly-tipping. Work was also being carried out to improve lighting and signage in key areas. The Authority was working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Farmers Union, and police to share intelligence.
It was suggested that a joint working group, with the Environment Scrutiny Committee, could be established to examine fly-tipping. The suggestion received broad agreement.