Field officers dealt with thousands of cases across the city last year, responding to concerns ranging from noise nuisance to fly-tipping.
In 2020, the Field Officer Team investigated a total of 3,521 cases, an increase of more than 1,000 cases compared to 2019. These included complaints about:
- bonfires, dust and smoke
- illegal street trading
- encampments on pavements and in parks
- breaches of planning regulations
The Field Officer service was launched in 2018 to take council services out to local communities and tackle issues raised by residents and businesses.
Field officers are in action seven days a week until 8pm, providing a fast response to help prevent potential problems escalating.
The team work across council services such as planning, environmental health and housing to respond quickly to issues reported by residents through the services’ usual routes.
An update on the team’s work was provided in a report to the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee on 14 January (agenda item 65).
The report says the Covid-19 pandemic has presented challenges, making it difficult for the team to meet residents in person in the same way as they did previously.
However, field officers are continuing to work to with local people, other council departments, and other organisations in the city, to get to the root of local concerns and solve problems.
Making a difference
Noise triggers the most complaints and prompt action by the team has resulted in 90% of noise investigations being resolved without further complaints.
Councillor Steph Powell, joint chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, said: “The field officers aim to resolve issues quickly and effectively.
“With more people at home during lockdown, dealing with noise nuisance and preventing further problems has been particularly important over the last year, and helped to avoid disputes between neighbours.
“The Covid-19 pandemic means it hasn’t been possible for field officers to get out and about to meet residents at neighbourhood meetings and community events as they did during 2019, but these will be reintroduced as soon as restrictions allow.
“I’d like to say a heartfelt thanks to all the field officers for all their hard work throughout this most challenging time.”