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No Cold Calling Zones

18 April 2019

1. About this Policy

1.1. No Cold Calling Zones (NCCZs) have been introduced by local authority/police partnerships in various areas across the country as a means of reducing incidents of doorstep crime. Crime statistics have shown this to be an effective approach. Every year Essex Trading Standards receives a high level of reports of doorstep crime being committed in the Essex area, often where elderly and vulnerable members of our community have been targeted by rogue traders. The introduction of these zones is one of a number of tools used by Trading Standards to stamp out this type of crime within Essex.

1.2. The zones are specific geographical areas where the demographics (elderly, vulnerable people) suggest that it is not desirable for the residents to receive unsolicited or 'cold' callers. Often the zones are implemented where Trading Standards has intelligence to show an area to be a hot spot for doorstep crime or distraction burglary. NCCZs are created in partnership with local residents, Trading Standards, the police, neighbourhood watch and other local partners. Whilst many cold callers may be legitimate traders, cold calling is often used by unscrupulous or rogue traders, and is a method sometimes used in distraction burglary. NCCZs deter uninvited traders and bogus callers from visiting specific areas, and protect and empower local residents.

1.3. Street signs are erected at all access points used by cold callers to alert them that they are in a no cold calling zone. Residents are all provided with stickers to display on their front doors to make callers aware that the area is a NCCZ and that the resident will not deal with them.

1.4. Concerns that the Zones will adversely affect legitimate traders who wish to canvass door to door have to be balanced by the harm done to vulnerable residents who have experienced doorstep crime. Whilst it is legal to trade this way there are operators in Essex who totally ignore the legislation and prey on these residents.

2. General Principles

2.1. The following general principles must be met before a zone can be considered:

a) High percentage of elderly/vulnerable residents living in the zone who are subject to the possibility of exploitation and/or deception.

b) The core purpose in setting up the NCCZ must be crime prevention/reduction or reducing the fear of crime. There must be a real prospect that the establishment of a NCCZ will assist in achieving this purpose.

c) Locality – the physical attributes of the road must be suitable for the restrictions being introduced. Elements such as length of the road, speed limit, number of dwellings covered by the zone must be considered. The zone must be capable of being clearly separate to other local roads and/or residential areas.

d) Level of intelligence received about doorstep crimes and distraction burglaries. Sources of intelligence to include:

i. Citizens Advice database

ii. Local neighbourhood watch

iii. Local police

iv. Regional intelligence database (IDB)

v. Borough, City and District Councils

vi. Residents associations

vii. Parish councils.

e) There must be consultation and agreement with all householders within the zone prior to the creation of a NCCZ.

3. Partnership working

3.1. Intelligence about ‘hot spot’ areas will be shared with Borough, City and District Councils. In those areas where problems are highlighted joint working will be undertaken to ensure that contact is made with local residents to highlight the potential benefits of the implementation of a zone.

4. On-going monitoring and Review

4.1. Once a zone has been implemented in an area and has been operating for six months surveys are conducted with the residents to monitor the success of the scheme. The questions asked are designed to gauge feedback on how confident the residents now are about dealing with cold callers, the level of cold calling now within the zone and their overall feeling of safety. This information is then used to shape the systems and procedures used by Trading Standards to implement new zones and where necessary target areas for increased activity for the detection of Doorstep crime.

4.2. All NCCZs will be reviewed once every three years to monitor their effectiveness and establish whether there is a continued need for the zone.