NEW processes are being introduced which it is hoped will lead to a quicker and more effective response to the problem of noisy parties in Falmouth.
Kevin Brader, the senior environmental health officer with Cornwall Council’s community protection team, told Falmouth councillors that his service had to adapt to cope with new challenges, particularly from those posed by social media.
There were, though, a number of factors to be considered when dealing with complaints, not just volume, but also the time of day, the frequency and the duration of the disturbances.
“The most appropriate and most sure-fire way of obtaining evidence is for officer visits,” said Mr Brader. “That is always the best approach. We have had a reduction in the out of hours service that is out of my control and that is something I have to work around and work with.
“That does not mean officers are not going out. That is what I am looking to try to get officers to do, but that will have a knock-on impact on who is available during the day time. It is about allocating resources across the whole of Cornwall so that all the residents of the county get an identical service.
“The challenge has changed, specifically in Falmouth, and because of social networking the problem can shift. We need to adapt and change and work a bit smarter in order to tackle the problem with the resources we have got. I am looking at moving officers to work closer to where they live so they can be more accessible outside normal working hours.”
Mr Brader, however, came in for some criticism from councillors who claimed residents of the town are being let down by the service and were constantly “fobbed off” when they complained of late night disturbances.
Councillor Rowenna Brock said: “I feel we are not reacting to this in the right way. If I was a student and knew I could get away with this, weekend after weekend, I would do it. I think there’s a feeling that you can have a party and get away with it because there is no response. I do not think that what we are providing is fit for purpose.”
Councillor Diana Merrett added: “We had these problems, ten to 15 years ago and we are still nowhere near getting them resolved.
“I would like to know, are we going to get a decent service, are we going to get a person out there when the party kicks off? All we are getting is fobbed off by environmental health officers.”
Mr Brader reminded councillors that two warrants had been executed before Christmas which resulted in equipment being seized from two properties, one in Killigrew Street and the another in Marlborough Road.
He added: “Hopefully the action we have taken will have had an effect on the issues. It’s not going to be an overnight fix and I ask you to bear with us. Hopefully we have commenced something that will see a change.”