Monday 15 May 2017

Kingdom 'litter police' under scrutiny on Panorama tonight

Readers who have followed Cllr John Duffy's attempts to get the Kingdom Ltd contract with Brent Council properly scrutinised LINK  LINK will be interested in tonight's Panorama (8.30pm BBC1 and then iplayer) which focuses on the company's operations.

Pre-broadcast publicity from the BBC  LINK states:

A private company acting as the "litter police" for dozens of councils pays officers a bonus for issuing fines, an undercover Panorama report has found.

One officer from Kingdom Services, a leading enforcement company, claimed that his bonus one month was £987.

Other officers were filmed handing out £75 fines for tiny pieces of dropped orange peel and poured-away coffee.

Kingdom told Panorama that its competency allowance was not a paid incentive for officers to issue fines. 

Littering is a crime, but if you pay the fine you can avoid a criminal record.

Councils are increasingly using private companies such as Kingdom, based in Cheshire, to enforce the Environmental Protection Act. 

Kingdom currently has about 28 contracts with local authorities and last year saw its profits jump 30% to £9m. 

The company frequently splits the proceeds of the fines with the councils.


Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

People are fined for littering, but the Department for Work & Pensions claims Crown Immunity when it comes to the systematic abuses to vulnerable people committed via Universal Credit claiming procedures.

Fines on top of fines where the person is unable to pay have led to suicide. See Camden New Journal entries on the suicide of Jerome Rogers. There is also this from an excellent Big Issue article by barrister Alan Murdie The great British council tax scandal – a Big Issue investigation: The long, drawn-out nature of enforcement means it seldom receives media attention or comment, save where death occurs. One instance that did make the news were observ-ations by a Dunstable coroner in June 2013, at the inquest of Peter Williams, a 63-year-old inventor who killed himself after losing his home following a council tax bankruptcy. Although not blaming the council, the coroner commented that the increase from a disputed sum of £1,350 to £70,000 with costs “may strike the man in the street as remarkable”.

Anonymous said...

Nice little earner for both the company ('providing a service') and the council; as long as you don't give a shit about civil life in this country.
What a fine example of shameless Tory England in action. And how unsurprising to see Butt's porkers with their noses in the trough.

Mike Hine

Philip Grant said...

I have now watched the Panorama programme on iPlayer.

It seems clear, from the evidence shown, that Kingdom are happy to promote (and reward) unethical, and possibly unlawful, practices by their staff in order to maximise the profits from their contracts with local authorities.

This does make you wonder what incentives they would be willing to pay to Council officers and councillors with the power to award those lucrative contracts.


Anonymous said...

Particularly as it is claimed that there are no written records of the awarding process, or so we are led to believe.
The whole procedure has been very unsatisfactory and open to fraud or similar.

Philip Grant said...

Precisely - that is why there needs to be the independent investigation which Cllr. Duffy has asked for.

Anonymous said...

Don't litter and then they wouldn't fine you for the offence!!!