Wednesday 3 August 2016

£96k levied in litterering fixed penalty fines in first 6 weeks of Brent Council trial

On Sunday I posted a blog LINK on the 7 week wait that Paul Lorber experienced for a bulk collection by Veolia. In passing I wondered how the new litter enforcement trial was working. The scheme was out-sourced to Kingdom.

Lo and behold on Monday Brent Council issued a press release announcing that more than 1200 people have been spot-fined in the first 6 weeks of the trial. That gives an income of £96K plus from which wages and overheads have to be paid.

This is the council press release:
More than 1200 litter bugs have been fined within the first 6 weeks of placing dedicated patrol officers on the streets of Brent.

There are few things that can affect the look and reputation of a place more than litter. Whether it’s fast food wrappers, cigarette butts or dog fouling, it’s a blight that should not be tolerated anywhere. And here in Brent, our fight against litterbugs is well underway.

Kingdom, the company whose dedicated officers are patrolling the streets in Brent, have issued over 1200 fines since the pilot scheme began 6 weeks ago.  Officers have been deployed to hot spot areas in the borough with the purpose of issuing £80 Fixed Penalty Notices to anyone caught in the act of committing a waste offence, including littering, paan spitting and not cleaning up after their dogs.

Residents or visitors who do not pay the fine could end up in court, where they face the prospect of being named and shamed, and landed with a much heftier penalty.

This innovative 12 month pilot scheme has been put in place to help keep our streets clean and litter-free, and supports the efforts of our existing Enviro-crime Enforcement Team, who work tirelessly to investigate littering and illegally dumped rubbish offences and prosecute offenders.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:
Dropping litter is the kind of anti-social behaviour that really gets people’s backs up, and rightly so. It’s thoughtless, selfish and ruins shared spaces for everyone. Not only that, clearing and disposing of litter costs millions of pounds each year, and this money could be better spent in different areas.
The majority of residents here in Brent love where they live and take great care of our streets and parks, which is why we are determined to take action against those whose behaviours are spoiling Brent for the rest of us.
We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone in Brent to get rid of their waste legally, to recycle more and to take greater care and pride in the local area. These activities are part of our Love Where You Live campaign and send a clear message to residents and visitors that littering will not be accepted here in Brent.
You can do your bit to help make Brent a cleaner and greener place to live and visit, by reporting illegally dumped rubbish or graffiti with the Cleaner Brent App or organising your own clean-up day. You can also download the new recycling app for clear guidance on what you can recycle, and where.
This afternoon the Kilburn Times posted a story in whicb residents complain that the enforcement officers use 'underhand practices' to catch residents out. There were complaints of officers hiding to pounce on offenders and the lack of litter bins etc. LINK 

At Scrutiny Committee in April Cllr John Duffy warned that the enforcemment officers would oook out for 'easy pickings'. LINK
Duffy pointed out that Kingdom would  be motivated to issue a high number of tickets as this would boost their profits. Operatives were likely to go for the easy option of targeting 'rich pickings', such as smokers outside tube stations, where they could issue many tickets in a short time, rather than areas where real action was needed on street litter


Anonymous said...

Living not far from Ealing Road and Wembley High Road and near a local school I do so wish that this could be extended to people who throw their fast food remains, wrappers, cans, plastic bottles and juice based soft drink cartons into people's front gardens and front paths as they walk past or get into their parked cars. Oh wouldn't this be wonderful!!!!

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

There are huge differences between levying a charge and whether it is economically viable to collect that charge; and it seems that in this day and age of 'austerity' councils are trying to do what they can to screw poor people in the ways that they levy, say, a portion of Council Tax out of the already inadequate state benefits of Jobseekers Allowance claimants. The already cited conditions regarding non-existent collection services is one thing that might lead to people getting fined out of frustration.

Over in LB Haringey friend of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group — and of many other organisations of poor and disadvantaged people — Revd Paul Nicolson is taking a stand against the inappropriate levying of Council Tax upon people on poverty-line State Benefits incomes. His letter about this appeared in Tuesday's Guardian as The arithmetic of the powerful makes poor people ill.

Members of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group will be joining his demo before 10am on Thursday 4 August at Tottenham Magistrates Court.

Further on the subject of fines though, benefit sanctions have traditionally hit only those on benefits issued by the DWP, while there have been clawbacks of Working Tax Credits made against WTC claimants. Under Universal Credit, sanctions can be levied against people for allegedly not trying hard enough to find extra waged work. So in effect, Government thinks it is doing poor people a good service when it makes them poorer and more isolated. By contrast, by taking a civil disobedience stand against injustice, Revd Paul Nicolson is helping reduce the isolation of those too poor to pay by highighting the injustices of 'the arithmetic of the powerful'.

Unknown said...

This is a great scheme. Well done Brent Council on this one.

Nan. said...

Actually there needs to be a step change in attitudes towards littering.

Whatever happened to the Keep Britain Tidy campaign?

I have seen children and adults just dropping wrappers casually as they walk along with no compunction what so ever.

Anonymous said...

I didn't quite understand the B&K Times article, at the end of the day littering is littering - it shouldn't matter how you are caught out! If anything hiding in plain sight is probably best, it's like when you're going down a motorway and slow down when you see speed-camera signs, you shouldn't be speeding whether you're being watched or not.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Many years ago — 1965 to 1976 to be precise — our house was about the closest to a particular bus stop and we did get an awful amount of litter in our front garden despite the existence of a litter bin at the bus stop.

Yet I have frequently wondered on the times when I went to join demonstrations at courts in LB Brent where people were unable to pay their Council Tax, where is the nearest litter bin to any of the bus stops? Maybe Kingdom are banking on such shortages?

Alfie said...

The litter bin at the top of Barn Hill was removed by the Council as it attracted local flytippers!