Fenland District Council defends ‘litter police’ after third-party company is focus of Panorama investigation

Enforcement officers out and about in Wisbech last month.

Enforcement officers out and about in Wisbech last month. - Credit: Archant

Fenland District Council has defended its decision to continue using a private company that was subject to a Panorama investigation into “intimidating litter police”.

Officers from the Kingdom Services Group, which has contracts with more than 25 other local authorities, were shown receiving ‘bonuses’ for handing out fines for littering – with one officer claiming he once received a £927 bonus – in an episode of Panorama in May.

Kingdom denied this ‘bonus,’ saying its competency allowance was not an incentive for officers to issue fines.

The Chesire-based group has also been accused of intimidating behaviour in a number of towns across the UK.

Councillor Carol Murubbi, from Llandudno, told the North Wales Pioneer that while she was on crutches, three enforcement officers stood outside the toilet she was using and waited for her to come out before issuing her a fine.

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Over 180 fines for littering, dog fouling and fly tipping were handed out by Kingdom in Fenland last month, and Councillor Peter Murphy, the district council’s portfolio holder for the environment, says it will continue to work with Kingdom during its year-long trial – as long as work is carried out fairly.

He said: “Kingdom began supporting Fenland District Council’s Street Scene team with enforcement patrols in June as part of our new Tidy Fenland campaign to help rid our communities of litter, dog fouling and fly-tipping crimes and reduce Fenland’s £1,000-a-day cleansing bill.

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“Previous Tidy Fenland campaigns had been successful at raising awareness of the issue and delivered some improvements however feedback from the public called for more enforcement as a minority of people continued to be irresponsible and commit these environmental crimes. We launched Tidy Fenland this year working with Kingdom to address the call for more enforcement.

“We are working with Kingdom in partnership with Peterborough City Council on a 12 month trial. We have and will continue to ensure that any enforcement activity is carried out fairly and transparently and with Fenland’s priorities in mind.”

The cost of clearing up litter in Britain exceeded £1 billion last year, according to campaign group Keep Britain Tidy.

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