23 May A day in the life of an enforcement agent: persistent offenders
In our third post exploring the typical challenges faced and overcome by enforcement agents, see how our agent, Danny, deals with the case of a persistent motoring offender owing thousands in unpaid fines.
The working day
“On a personal level, I’m a self-employed contractor, so I don’t have to work specific days or set hours. But that doesn’t mean it’s a freebie to do what you want!
“I normally plan my workload a week ahead and update the office and my manager accordingly. If I need to stop work at short notice, I just update the office and my manager in the same way.”
This persistent motoring offender has eight open cases, with £2,700 in fines and costs outstanding. Because of the age of some of the fines, going back a few years, Danny knows this may be a difficult case to conclude.
In Danny’s own words: “A serial offender is clever, staving off getting caught and making the impositions ineffective. It benefits nobody, and this case also includes a drink driving conviction. While I’m not given all the details, this is a serious imprisonable offence.”
One look at the notes on the tablet confirm these difficulties. Convictions going back four years, various vehicle registrations and fines for no insurance, no MOT, bald tyres, and also the drink driving conviction. Pages of notes, ineffective visits, and no real contact.
Danny buys himself a coffee and goes through the whole case again. This offender is clearly persistent, but the warrants are sometimes quite old and often issued as a last resort.
“Our client support teams have direct access to the courts who administer and ensure fines get paid. I ask them to find out if there are any new fines at the court and if these fines have a new vehicle registration with them.”
The call is returned ten minutes later, and it’s a ‘yes.’ He’s been reported again, this time for an offence in a black BMW with a new vehicle registration, only a week ago. Handy information!
The property is located in a block of flats on a main road. Danny is familiar with the place, in fact he knows that no less than 20 notices had been sent to the property regarding the outstanding fines, in addition to everything the courts have sent him.
The BMW is spotted not far away, parked just out of sight of the registered residence. This is a common trick in London, with offenders banking on enforcement agents not taking the time to look too hard for their vehicles. No such luck for him today, this is definitely the right place.
Validating your actions
Danny contacts the office immediately to make sure the vehicle isn’t on finance. It isn’t, and while the car is quite old, its sale would make a significant dent in the unpaid fines if it was seized and auctioned. Of course, this isn’t 100% guaranteed, but we find that persistent offenders aren’t keen on having their vehicles removed and sold.
“The block of flats has a tradesman entrance and I try the buzzer a number of times, I even try the neighbours’ flats. There’s clearly somebody in, but nobody answers. Fine. I trudge back the half mile to the BWM and clamp it, leaving all the correct notices attached to the vehicle.”
Technology and support
All Danny’s visits are automatically dated, timed and recorded in the cloud. When a case is completed or cancelled, his tablet updates automatically, meaning no wasted visits. Sometimes, this could be the only interaction an enforcement agent has with a case.
“We have a team on-hand to take payments in the office early until late, bypassing the need to interact with Mr Persistent Offender if he chooses not to deal with me personally, however this is very rare as the notices have my contact details on them.”
It’s often a client requirement to release vehicles within a set time once a debt is paid. If the vehicle has been immobilised, Danny returns as soon as possible to remove the device, keeping the customer updated with an approximate time of return.
In this case, there’s a feeling that despite ignoring previous fines and court notices, a small clamp on a car may have the desired effect on our offender!
We shall see!
This is a great example of how agents thinking differently while being stoic and determined can move difficult cases forward, often without even having to speak to a defendant.
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