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Powers of Entry

Requested on
Fri 24th February, 2012
Reference
FOI 1696
Resolution
Information provided

Question

I am writing to obtain details of the use of powers of entry by your authority under any of the relevant Acts or items of secondary legislation during the period 2008 – 2011, excluding Trading Standards investigations. I wish to obtain details of:
· how many times such powers were used in the past three years,
· the legislation they were requested under,
the criminal offence or allegation being investigated
the outcome of their use, if any.

I have included a table below, with example answers for the purposes of clarity.
Date of Use
Time of powers
Legislation exercised under
Offence / Allegation
Outcome

01/02/2010
8 am
X Act 2003, S 3
Animal abuse
Fine

05/04/2011
4pm
Y Act 1997, S 1
Excessive Noise
None

Answer

Only one formal warrant to obtain entry, in this case to a domestic premises, has been used by Environmental Health Service since 2008 and is as follows:
 
Date of Use Time of powers Legislation exercised under Offence / Allegation Outcome   
19/4/11 10.30am Schedule 3 sec 2 Environmental Protection Act 2009 Noise nuisance from alarm sec 79 EPA2009 Noise nuisance abated   
     
However the daily work of the service involves the inspection of / visits to premises, to check for compliance with a variety of legislation, covering food safety, health and safety, environmental protection, animal welfare legislation, most of which contain a power of entry. Although this power is very rarely referred to at the time of inspections/visits it is the basic authority behind which they operate.
It is estimated that in the region of 5,000 inspections/ visits to premises, mainly commercial premises, will have been made in the period 1/1/08 – 31/12/2011 where this power of entry applies even if it is not required to be invoked.
Planning Enforcement exercise rights to enter properties on a regular basis to check for breaches of planning control.  If there is no-one in at the time of a visit officers will enter the land to carry out investigations.  Approximately 40% of all complaints that are dealt with result in entering the land to carry out investigations using powers to do so. 
The number of complaints received were:
2008 - 613
2009 - 781
2010 - 769
2011 - 663

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