Flintshire Council set to review outsourced ‘litter police’ contract
Flintshire County Council is set to review the current performance of the contract with Kingdom Ltd, the councils outsourced ‘litter police.’
A committee will be asked to make a recommendation to Cabinet on the future delivery arrangement for environmental enforcement activities in the County.
From January 2016, a zero tolerance policy was adopted by Flintshire County Council for all littering offences.
Kingdom were introduced to undertake the enforcement of environmental crime in 2016, the contract provides enforcement officers to patrol and issue Fixed Penalty Notices to members of the public for littering and dog fouling offences.
Kingdom enforcers are currently handing out fines totalling around £22,200 a month figures released to Deeside.com show.
In the five months to March 31st this year – 1480 people were caught by enforcement officers from the private firm dropping rubbish or not cleaning up after their dogs.
Bodycam wearing enforcement officers patrolling Flintshire towns and green spaces issue £75 fixed penalty notices to people spotted committing ‘low-level environmental crimes’ such as failing to remove dog waste, dropping cigarette butts and general littering.
During the five-month period which Deeside.com requested information for – a total of £111,000 in fines were dished out by the controversial private firm in Flintshire – over 90% of the fines have been for dropping cigarette ends.
The council says Kingdom’s service is ‘cost neutral’ as long as the number of fines remain at the levels they are currently.
‘Outsourcing enforcement duties may reduce costs although this may not be sustainable as FPN numbers fall.’ A council document states.
The report to be presented to Cabinet will outline the approach to all environmental enforcement issues including littering, fly-tipping, side waste enforcement, and the impact this work is having on street cleanliness and other performance indicators.
Three options will be put on the table.
1. Advertise and award a single contract for all low level environment enforcement – including car parking. This was the option recommended by Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee in September 2017. The proposal included an independent appeals process to be undertaken by a Senior Officer within the Council.
2. Remove the current arrangement and provide all enforcement activities through the in-house service at the current staffing levels.
3. Extend the in-house provision through recruitment or regional working to provide the same level of coverage as provided by the existing contractor.
A council spokesperson said: “Littering is a problem that faces every town and community in the country and the cost of street and open space litter collections in Flintshire prior to January 2016 was in excess of £300k per year.
In addition to the cost and the visual impact littering has on the environment, there is growing evidence to suggest that it has a much far reaching impact on the local economy and increases other forms of anti-social behaviour.”
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside, Councillor Carolyn Thomas, said:
“As the temporary arrangement with Kingdom is coming to an end, we need to make a decision on how we proceed and there are a number of options to consider, all of which have benefits and disadvantages.
Experience from the town centres has shown that a more robust approach to enforcement has benefited the town centres in terms of cleanliness.”
Holywell Town Council has written to Flintshire County Council to ask for the removal of Kingdom enforcers due impart to the over zealous nature in which they pursue those deemed to have dropped litter.
A meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny will take place on June 12.
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