Thursday 4 August 2016

Councillor accuses Brent Council/Kingdom Securities of 'bounty hunting' over littering fines

Cllr John Duffy has condemned the Fixed Penalty Notice Littering Scheme run for Brent Council by Kingdom Securities as 'bounty hunting' and 'entrapment of the worst type:
My understanding is that these tickets should not be issued until the resident have had the chance to pick up the  litter.  I believe this whole scheme is a con , these officer will not investigate dumped bags, only hang around outside fast food  bookies and pubs looking for smokers, instead of approaching the premises and asking them to place a receptacle for smokers.

This is bounty hunting  the poorest residents  and in the case of Kilburn High Road is entrapment of the worst type.

Duffy visited Victoria Road and McDonalds to see for himself and wrote to Carolyn Downs, Brent Chief Executive Officer: 
I visited the area last night.  I spoke to someone from McDonald's  and some residents .

No one seems to understand why Brent would remove the bins from outside a major fast food retailer , with a high foot fall, a young demographic  and a strategic location.

One resident asked were they removed to increase the numbers of litter tickets issued by KS.  As I cannot think of any other reason for the removal, can you confirm the day they were removed , who made the request to remove  them and were any FPN issued in that area during the time the bins were removed .

This morning  (10mins ago) I heard of KS issuing tickets on  Kilburn High Road, without  giving the person an opportunity to pick it up.

I realise this a serious issue  removing litter bins when we have an enforcement process going on.  If we are trying to entrap residents into committing a offence , that is unacceptable. I believe we need to get to the bottom of the issue immediately. 

I have always had concerns about the policy of paying for bounty hunters to issue tickets , which was promoted by Cllr Southwood and Cllr Mashari, now I believe we should suspend the service until we have sorted out clear rules of engagement with public.

In the meantime I demand to know why they were removed and who requested there removal , with a full email trial of the instruction. I also need to know the number of tickets that were issued in Kilburn high road during the period the bins were removed.
In an earlier email to Brent Council officers, Cllr Duffy asked for answers to a series of questions:

I understand from the local paper, that the private firm introduced by the cabinet, Kingdom Securities (KS),  has issue 1200 FPNs.I therefore would like the following information.

(1) Can you also tell me how many FPN were issued for offences other than Littering( list below provided by DEFRA )
·       littering
·       fly-tipping
·       dog control offences
·       graffiti
·       fly-posting
·       nuisance parking (people selling or repairing cars on the road)
·       abandoned vehicles
·       leafleting without permission on land where leafleting is restricted (‘designated land’)
·       failing to nominate a key holder or give the council key holder details in an alarm notification area
·       failing to provide a waste carrier licence (for businesses transporting their own waste)
·       failing to provide a waste transfer note when moving non-hazardous waste
 or are KS employed exclusively for littering.

(2) What percentage were issued outside Tube stations, bus stops for discarding cigarette butts or similar before they enter a tube station or get on a bus.

(3) How many of these were issue following the searching of dicscarded waste under section 87 and section 88.

(4) Were any of the 1,200 offenders offer a chance to pick the offending litter as per the guidance laid down by Defra "that strictly speaking the unintentional dropping of litter is an offence , however DEFRA advise that a notice should only be issued if, after drawing the matter to the person’s attention, and he then fails to pick it up. Can you confirm you have followed Defra's guidelines that you have allow the offender to pick it -up and therefore only cautioned them if they did so, instead of issuing a FPN.

(5) As you may be aware Defra also say that in practice, the overwhelming majority of environmental offences are ‘summary offences’, this is to say they are criminal offences that are tried summarily, in front of the magistrates.  Also it is a requirement that records should be kept of the number of fixed penalty notices issued, the resulting receipts and the number of cases pursued through the courts. This information is legally required on an annual basis by Defra for monitoring purposes.Therefore can you confirm how many cases have been referred to the legal section for prosecution.

(6) How many have been paid within the 14 days required? (please change the question below to your anwser)

(7) I am assuming  we have received 70% payment and have been  paid = £67200 we have paid KS £55200 and therefore we have received £12k extra revenue to deal with appeals and taking legal actions against the outstanding offenders,can you confirm that is the case. Can you  also estimate the cost of the legal department of dealing the outstanding unpaid FPNs.

(8) Can you give me the on costs for the office space per month for the six members of staff , which was  circulated in your report to scrutiny and has KS incurred and other costs like the use of IT, use of pool cars , free car parking,  could you also give me the cost of collecting the fines by Brent.

 (9) It is clear the only fixed cost is the £55k income we have paid KS, can you confirm we have stopped cost for any item in part (8) above.


Nan. said...

Proper scrutiny. Well done Cllr Duffy.

Anonymous said...

The only person keeping one's faith in councillors.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Duffy is 100% right in asking all the right questions with regard to the enforcement issues highlighted. Having witnessed on several occasions Enforcement Officers in Wembley High Road challenging the odd smoker dropping a butt, even when picking it up and putting it in a bin was still harassed into giving their details so they can issue a fine? I think not. The whole idea of this exercise is to make the general public aware of what they are doing. Many were confused and did not understand what was being asked of them. The majority do not speak English as a first language, and I witnessed being visibly distressed at being forced to produce ID which they did not have, or being challenged to hand over their mobile phone to verify who they are. I find this is very unsavoury practice and would guess that the majority neither have the funds to pay and kingdom and brent will never recover the vast majority of fines. This is all B...S..t

Jaine Lunn said...

I do hope that this weekend when we have 2 major Football events at Wembley Stadium. We will see the Kingdom Officers out in force to show what Brent Council has stated that we have a ZERO Tolerance to Anti-social behaviour, Public Order Offences and the dropping of litter etc; etc; The last Football event at Wembley I personally witnessed at least 40 persons committing public order offences in my street. Using my street as a public toilet is extremely offensive and unhygienic. Bearing in mind that everyone attending a football event at Wembley have bought their tickets in advance, by credit card. If shown they can identify the person and even can find out their home address, telephone number and credit card, also where in the stadium they will be sitting. They should be able to clean up, £££s in revenue +. Most of the supporters are carrying their tickets and ££s in cash for their day out. On the Spot fines = ££s result Brent Council will generate an income boost alternative would certainly be a plus in eradicating the problem. Well I certainly will be watching, camera at the ready. In neighbouring Royal Boroughs i.e Kensington and Chelsea and Richmond ( Rugby@Twickenham) this is common practice. What a difference a day makes. We will see!