11 Apr A day in the life of an enforcement agent: what to expect
For our first instalment of ‘a day in the life’ we follow an enforcement agent on a typical working day. This post will give you a real insight into whether this is the industry for you. It tells it like it is, the good and the bad. Enforcement agents have a challenging role, and many go into it without a real understanding of what is required.
Having said that, this can be an incredibly rewarding role and one that will use your ex-military skills in a civilian setting.
Read on to learn more about working as an enforcement agent.
The ‘average’ day
Danny, who works as an enforcement agent on typical earnings of £40,000 a year, tells us how his day typically starts…
“I make my first visit between 06:00hrs and 07:00hrs, which is also when my working day begins. Criminal work is my main specialty – working mainly on court fines.
“I earn on average £40,000 a year, although this depends on how many hours I work. My best year was when I usually worked 6 days a week and a 12hour day. I worked on the street and at home and that year I earned double what I do now.
“My work is challenging but also flexible. We’re able to undertake visits from 06:00hrs to 21:00hrs, 7 days a week. Depending on my workload, and what’s going on in my personal life, I can fit these hours around my lifestyle.
“My hours are also dependant on the British weather– it can make working on street difficult at times!”
Days can be long as an enforcement agent, but there is a degree of flexibility too. We’d also like to remind you that Danny’s 80k year wasn’t typical at all – a year like that depends on a lot of factors as well as your personal and family commitments.
Preparing for visits
Preparation is a key part of this role, you have to choose carefully when visits should be made. Danny tells us more…
“The flexibility is there for us to use but you have to be wise about when are the best times to make your visits. This is dependent on the areas you work in, if you’re going somewhere in peak times you need to think about traffic. I tend to get to areas I work nice and early so as to miss most rush hour traffic.
“In the company I work for they do not have the data that shows the BTTC (best time to call) and so my work is flexible to me and it fits in with the lifestyle I want outside of work. What’s great is that I rarely have a problem helping with the school run and I don’t miss important Saturday events with the family.
“My preparation each night is a standard equipment check ahead of the next day’s work. This includes charging my mobile phone and company tablet device with all my cases loaded. Then I check paperwork, calling letters and envelopes, receipt book, ID badge with BWV (body worn video) attachment and of course my GPS device. I also have to ensure that I have uploaded the BWV footage from the day’s visits, which is pretty quick and painless to be honest. (I lose quality points for bonuses if I am non-compliant with this process so it’s a no-brainer).
“Once I am out in the field and in my vehicle, I have already planned my route and visits for the day, especially if there is a pre-arranged payment to collect or the office request a specific case is visited. I work a consistent area, I have gotten to know the location and its best café, and thus the best cup of tea at certain times of the day.”
Making visits – common issues and scenarios
Once the preparation is done, it’s time to start the day and make visits. This doesn’t always go to plan, and you’ll see from Danny’s account that he has to use lots of different skills to get the right outcome.
“My first port of call is a block of flats, where I have 3 different addresses to visit. It is a conversion of a large Victorian block, but with no access to get in and no tradesman entrance buzzer. There are post boxes at the side, so I leave a letter in a sealed envelope in the correct box for the recipient to collect.
“I update my tablet device with full notes back in the vehicle, all are automatically date stamped. I can work out a different time to visit based on this on the next occasion. You get a lot of these scenarios, but you do also get a lot of calls from those letters you leave.
“Before I go, I have a quick scan for vehicle registrations, but none match the case I am holding.”
You win some you lose some! While this kind of situation can be time-consuming and annoying there are ways to get around it. Leaving letters is a simple way to overcome a common problem.
In this next part we’ll see how Danny uses good communication skills to get the desired outcome.:
“Then it’s onto the next which is on a housing estate just around the corner. I actually have 6 warrants here, so there’s plenty to do. I am interested in one case in particular as they have previously arranged to pay but then defaulted.
“It’s a mid-terrace property and in good condition but no car outside unfortunately. BWV is switched on when I leave my vehicle so it’s a knock on the door and the door is answered. I introduce myself to the occupant and quickly identify it is the customer at the door – he has a distinctive appearance that was noted on previous visit. We identify that the final payment of £475 was missed and the explanation was that the payment was to be made through a third party, his parents.
“After a brief discussion on the doorstep we agree for the payment to be made by collection later in the day from his address. I obtain his mobile phone number and tell him I will call if there are any issues with attending at the agreed time (this can happen if other visits clash and you get stuck elsewhere). Everything is convivial, I am careful on the doorstep to not exacerbate having to be there, but with a broken arrangement like this – they were expecting the knock.
“I give the warning that the warrant will be executed, and as an inventory was taken previously (called taking control of goods), that I will do that should the payment not be forthcoming later. Experience tells me I will not be needing to take this action in this case.
“I leave with a polite “see you later” and update the tablet to add in the new scheduled visit later in the day. This is a potentially good case, as this will be my last call of the day and hopefully a paid in full (or a PIF as we commonly call it!)
“BWV is switched off as I return back to my vehicle. GPS shows I’m only 1 minute away from the next address which is good.”
From this snippet of Danny’s day, you can see the kind of skills he needs to do his job well – preparation, communication and also plain common sense!
This was a good start to the day for Danny – not all cases are as simple as this. In future posts we’ll go into much more detail about the role of enforcement officer. The good, the bad and the ugly. This can help you decide if this is the role for you, as ex-military personnel.
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