Members of the Public Realm Scrutiny Committee may have their work cut out on Tuesday when they review an officer report LINK on the Council's uniformed litter patrols that have replaced Kingdom Security after the Council decided to bring the service in-house. It is a pity the Cllr Duffy was removed from the Committee, he may have been able to make sense of the figures.
I was struck by the difference between the July figures in the table above compared with June and August and asked for clarification. (W/E stands for Waste Enforcement). I received the following explanation:
There are a number of reasons why there is a differences in the numbers :
1) Number of officers patrolling ; At the moment there are 3 officers patrolling , with a further two being recruited into in due course . Meanwhile , kingdom had 6/8 officers patrolling during the same period last year.
2) Enviro-Crime Enforcement Patrol Officers do not only issue Fixed Penalty Notices for littering , they have other duties which do not carry instant FPNs , for example inspections of business for waste management compliance and searching waste found illegally dumped on the street.
3) Greater public awareness of the offence of littering , due to high profile TV and newspaper coverage over the last year or so.
I am not convinced and perhaps the answer was addressing year on year comparisons which the officer's report explains:
During June to August 2016 Kingdom Officers issued a total of 1028 litter related FPN’s in relation to 219 FPN’s issued by officers during the same period in 2017. This difference can be attributed to Kingdom initially providing a team of up to 8 officers in the early stages of the contract, vacancies arising during the transfer of staff, public awareness on littering since June 2016 and an approach that now looks at the broader spectrum of waste related crime – i.e. illegal rubbish dumping.If income from fines are supposed to make the service self-sustaining and perhaps provide an income for environmental improvements there is clearly a long way to go.
The deployment of the team of five outlined in the report is challenging to say the least:
The team is currently being deployed to specific geographical areas within the borough. This has proved particularly effective in curtailing Paan spitting which has historically been very difficult to tackle. They are also deployed in response to complaints from members of the public, Veolia, as well as requests from Councillors and community groups to provide a high- visibility presence in illegal rubbish dumping hot-spots and to tackle specific local issues such as dog fouling, vermin feeding and other similar environmental issues. An important task is to response to reports of dumped waste flagged by our contractors, Veolia. They have also been involved in community assurance patrols which include weekend and evening work.
On 1st September 2017, the team will be fully equipped with the latest technology which will enable officers to issue on the spot FPN’s using mobile phones and portable bluetooth printers. For the safety and security of the officers, new body worn cameras will also be used. The technology provided to support the officers will be the best available in the current market.
Of the 4 Patrol Officer posts, 2 are yet to be filled. The rationale is that these posts will be offered to redeployees, then advertised internally before being offered externally. Deployment
The purpose of the team is currently as follows:
Issuing FPNs for witnessed littering / dog fouling / spitting / bird feeding offences,
Searching waste found dumped for evidence and then to referring this back to the Enviro-Crime inbox for senior members of the team to investigate, and
Preliminary waste management (duty of care) inspections on businesses referring any suspected non-compliance for further investigation.
To engage with members of the public on environmental issues which are affecting their neighbourhoods.