Fenland Council forced to end enforcement contract with Kingdom after its main partner Peterborough City Council pulls out

PUBLISHED: 16:16 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:16 31 December 2019

Enforcement officials from Kingdom checking out a suspected offender for littering in Wisbech. Part of a crackdown by Fenland Council they say is cost neutral. Picture: KINGDOM

Enforcement officials from Kingdom checking out a suspected offender for littering in Wisbech. Part of a crackdown by Fenland Council they say is cost neutral. Picture: KINGDOM

Archant

A contract that has seen enforcement officers tackling dropped cigarette butts, spitting and littering on the streets of Fenland is to end on January 31.

A contract that has seen enforcement officers tackling dropped cigarette butts, spitting and littering on the streets of Fenland is to end on January 31.

The service was provided by enforcement agency Kingdom in a joint venture with Peterborough City Council.

But with the city council pulling out, Fenland Council will also be forced to end the scheme.

Kingdom attracted controversy in Peterborough when, during the summer of 2018, they threatened to hand out fixed penalties to children attending climate change protests.

The city council say that's not the reason for ending the contract since they now expect to net a surplus of £380,000 a year by using their own enforcement officers and all the cash will be retained in house.

Carol Pilson, Fenland Council's corporate director, revealed the termination of the contract with Kingdom when she spoke to March Town Council this month. She said that whilst Fenland Council had been satisfied with the service provided by Kingdom, Peterborough City Council had been less so.

Ms Pilson said that for Fenland the contract had been cost neutral but even with those taken to court for non payment, only about two thirds of fixed penalty notices had actually been paid.

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She said the council was looking at other options.

Town councillors were asked by Ms Pilson if they would be prepared to help pay for the service to be continued. She also speculated on the possibility of Fenland Council deciding to follow suit with Peterborough and continue the enforcement in-house.

No decisions have been made and more discussions are expected in the New Year.

Earlier this year Fenland Council revealed that more than 2,000 penalty notices had been issued by Kingdom during the first 18 months.

The council says the contract with Kingdom that came into force mid way through 2017 has been a success.

Wisbech was a hot spot for targeting offenders and councillors were told, for example, that in November 2018 that of 50 tickets issued, the town attracted the bulk of them.

Of the 50 issued only five were handed out in March (all for parking offences) whilst in Wisbech 39 tickets were issued for dropping litter (including cigarette butts) and six for spitting. Chatteris and Whittlesey were ticket free zones.

Portfolio holder Cllr Peter Murphy said earlier this year: "Before we began our pilot with Kingdom back in June 2017, residents had made it clear to us that they wanted us to crackdown on those who blight our streets and green spaces with their environmental crimes."


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