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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The most commonly asked questions

Top Enquiries

  • Alarms keep sounding, what can be done?

    Alarms on cars, houses and businesses go off by accident all the time. Many of these are false calls for help and the police do not have the resources to attend them all. If you are suspicious that a crime is actually taking place, call 999 and give the operator as much detail about who, or what you can see going on. If there is nothing suspicious and the alarm does not go off after 30 minutes, contact your Local Authority Environmental Health Officer, who may be able to do something about noise nuisance
  • A neighbour has a vicious dog. What can be done?

    Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 it is an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place. For the owner to be prosecuted the dog does not need to be in a public place, but simply for the animal to either bite someone or to put someone in fear. In this case contact the police.

    The local authority is responsible for picking up and keeping stray dogs. The police only keep stray dogs brought to police stations until the council takes the dogs away. Your local police station has a list of lost, and found dogs.

    Certain breeds of fighting dog such as Filo Braziliero, Pitbull Terrier, Japanese Toza, and Dogo Argentino can only be owned by people over 21. These dogs have to be on a lead and muzzled in public and have certificates of exemption.

    If you are attacked, or bitten by a dog, seek medical attention, then contact the police. The incident should also be reported to your local authority dog warden.

  • I think that someone in our street is driving without documents

    Contact the police with as much detail of the offender and their vehicle as possible. We will brief our officers.
  • I am worried about a fixed penalty ticket

    During office hours, contact the police and ask for the Central Ticket Office. Full instructions of how to respond to a fixed penalty notice are included on the notice. For general road law enquiries, the answer can often be found in the Highway Code. Otherwise, contact a solicitor, Citizens Advice Bureau, or the local reference library.
  • I want to report someone for dangerous driving

    Many drivers get angry with the driving manner and behaviour of other road users. In some cases this can cause road rage incidents. Often the dangerous driving behaviour extends to more than one of the parties involved in the incident. The police can only take action on the evidence in the written statement of an independent witness, who is prepared to go to court. Contact the police if you are such an independent witness. People can contact the police about the behaviour of the driver of a particular vehicle to allow officers to be briefed about past incidents in case they are repeated when officers are around.
  • I have a child custody query

    The custody of a child being taken from one parent to another only becomes a police matter when the child is taken out of the country or if there is a breach of any order that may have been obtained. For general queries and information on how to obtain custody orders we suggest that the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor be contacted. If you believe that a child is at risk or in any danger, please contact the police immediately.
  • Someone in our street has a car without tax. Can you arrest them?

    Police will prosecute offenders who keep vehicles on the road without the appropriate vehicle excise licence in force, however resources often mean we may not be able to attend straight away. Note the details and pass the details of the car including it's registration number and the police patrols in your area will be briefed to deal with this vehicle. You may want to make a complaint direct to DVLA. Call them on 01604 762131.
  • Youths are riding around on motorbikes without helmets

    Police will deal with such offenders if they can be identified. Call the police with names, addresses and where bikes are stored if you recognise the riders.

    If not, give us the best descriptions of the offenders, and their bikes. In the interests of public safety the police are not allowed to chase offenders off road.

  • What should I do about a bogus caller?

    If the suspected bogus caller is still in the area, the police need to be informed before they have the chance to get away or commit further offences. Call 999 immediately. Give the operator a good description of the suspect, their vehicle and it's registration number if possible. Make sure that the caller was not distracting you while someone else sneaked in. Check all your windows and doors. If you find that someone has searched your house, call the police and do not touch anything until they arrive in case forensic evidence can be traced.
    • Always check the identity of callers you don't know.
    • Ask to see ID cards, use the door chain.

    Also see our advice on dealing with bogus callers.

  • What can I do about nuisance children bothering me?

    If you know where the children live and are on good terms with their parents, then why not go round and tell them about the problem. It may well be that the children don't want to annoy you, but were unaware they were doing so and will stop after their parents have spoken to them. If you feel that you are being harassed contact your local Citizens Advice Bureaux or a solicitor. If you are put in fear of violence by offenders still in the vicinity and you need police there straight away dial 999.

    Where children are playing ball games there is little the police can do unless there is a bylaw prohibiting such games or they are causing damage to property. If you feel there is a need for such a bylaw at your location, consult your local council for advice. If police resources are available, we may visit the area to speak to youngsters about neighbourhood concerns.

  • My neighbour keeps lighting fires

    Should you feel a bonfire is out of control, dangerous to people or property, or emitting noxious fumes contact the Fire Brigade on 999 immediately. In general terms fires must not be lit within 25 metres of a public road. If smoke is causing a hazard to road users, contact the police.
  • Someone has left a skip on the road

    To leave a skip on a public road, permission must be obtained from the local Highways Authority. Contact your local council about any concerns. A skip should be lit, and have the owners' details marked on it - allowing you to make direct contact.
  • I get nuisance phone calls. What should I do?

    Immediately after the call dial 1471 to find out the callers' number. If there is a number write it down, along with the date, time, what was said in the call, and anything else you feel may be helpful. Then contact your telephone service provider who will tell you what their procedures are, they may refer you to the police.

Age Limits

  • What can I legally do at 18 years of age?

    You can buy cigarettes or tobacco
    You can appear in an adult court
    You can get married without your parent's consent
    You can vote
    You can purchase an air rifle
    You can act as an executor of a person's will
    You can bet
    You can buy fireworks
    You can change your name
    You can apply for a passport
    You can own a house and land
    You can apply for a mortgage
    You can go abroad to sing, play or perform professionally
    You can sit on a jury
    You can be a blood donor
    You can buy alcohol
    You can drink alcohol in a pub
    You can hold a licence to sell alcohol
  • What can I legally do at 17 years of age?

    You can hold a licence to drive any vehicle except certain heavy vehicles
    You can engage in street trading
    You can leave home without your parent's consent
  • What can I legally do at 16 years of age?

    You can leave school
    You can choose your own doctor
    You can claim social security benefits
    You can work full time
    You can leave home with your parent's consent
    You can get married with one parent's consent
    You can drink wine or beer with a meal in a restaurant
    You can hold a licence for a moped
    You can buy a ticket in the National Lottery
  • What can I legally do at 14 years of age?

    • You can go to the pub but you cannot drink or buy alcohol
    • You are responsible for wearing a seat belt
  • What can I legally do at 13 years of age?

    • You can be employed for a certain number of hours per week
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