What happens first?

First, we will normally categorise complaints as either urgent or recurring. Urgent complaints are one-off events that are so serious that they require rapid investigation
and response, such as building alarms.

Most complaints are about recurring noise. When we first receive this kind of complaint we will write to you asking you to complete a diary sheet outlining dates, times and duration of the noise and return it to us within 21 days. Once your diary is returned you will be assigned a case officer for investigation. At this stage we will also write to the person accused of making the noise and highlight the nature of the problem, provide advice and explain our procedures. We will not tell the person accused of making the noise who has complained.

If the problem continues

We hope that our contact with those accused will resolve the problems. If the problem persists you will be able to contact our day or night service to report further
problems.

You can also contact your investigating officer to discuss any aspects of your case or if you have any further concerns.

How we investigate a complaint

There are four different ways we investigate complaints:

Reactive observations – We will visit the house of the person complaining to verify the complaint and collect evidence. This service is available out-of-hours so we can catch problems that happen during the evening and night.

Pro-active observations – This is where we target premises that are causing noise nuisance or where we believe problems may be caused. We will aim to target times where we expect problems to occur. We will often use this approach where regular patterns of disturbance occur.

Unattended monitoring – This is where we place a monitoring device such as an audio recorder in the complainant’s home. They can either operate continually or under the control of the person complaining.

Independent evidence – This is where we receive information from people other than the complainant to verify their complaint. We will need to be satisfied that the evidence is genuine and that it can be presented persuasively in any court proceedings.

What happens once we have evidence

When we are satisfied that a significant noise disturbance exists we will take enforcement action. If the problem then continues we will increase the level of enforcement until the problem has been resolved.

This action may include any number of the following:

  • Serving a statutory notice
  • Issuing a caution
  • Seizing the noise-making equipment
  • Serving warnings and fixed penalty notices
  • Seeking a review of a premises licence
  • Prosecution in a Magistrate’s Court
  • Civil injunctions
  • Criminal behaviour orders
  • Community protection notices
  • Closure notices

If your complaint is about a business

All complaints about non-domestic noise, such as those registered against businesses or entertainment venues, will be activated immediately. You will be able to contact us for investigation next time the noise disturbs you. We will also make contact with the company concerned in an attempt to resolve the problems so that you are not disturbed again.

If your complaint is about students

If the noise is coming from student residence, we will usually work closely with the University of Portsmouth to tackle the problem.

You may decide to get in touch with the university yourself to report student related noise issues. You can do this by contacting the student housing team at:

Complaints about our response

We will work with you to resolve noise problems. However, if you are unhappy about the way we have handled your case we would like your feedback. When closing your complaint, we may ask you to complete a feedback card to tell us how helpful and effective we have been.

If you want to formally complain about any part of our service you can do so either by contacting your investigating officer or the pollution control manager.