Litter squad out to clean up Wolverhampton streets
Litter louts beware - a team of enforcers is now out on the streets of Wolverhampton handing out £75 on-the-spot fines.
Under a new zero-tolerance approach to littering, Wolverhampton council has recruited a team of six that will be on the lookout for people dropping litter, chucking cigarette ends or letting their dogs foul without picking it up. It is expected that 10 to 15 on-the-spot fines will be dished out each day.
The uniformed officers will also be wearing body cameras to record all interactions with the public and capture any argy-bargy.
They spent last week training and, during that time, dished out more penalties than the 29 in total issued by the council last year - a grand total of 80.
The enforcers, who will be able to target teenagers as young as 16 for the first time ever, will focus their patrols on busy areas such as the city centre and Wednesfield, Bilston and Tettenhall.
Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for the environment, said the council 'means business' when it comes to littering and admitted that not enough had been done to solve the problem in recent years.
"Residents, businesses and the council are united in wanting to see action against the minority of anti-social people who litter our streets," he said.
"The message will soon get out there that we mean business by having this full-time, highly-visible team of enforcement officers out there giving out £75 fines for littering and dog fouling.
"When we announced we were doing this, the reaction we got from the public was very positive indeed.
"People quite clearly want to see action being taken against the litter critters.
"Unfortunately, due to Government cuts, we haven't had the resources to carry out much of our own enforcement in recent years, but this innovative partnership with Kingdom will see that situation change at no cost to the taxpayer."
Kingdom Security Ltd is working on the scheme with the council. As part of the deal, the council will pay the company £45 per notice issued and keep £30 for itself.
Michael Fisher, Kingdom divisional director, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Wolverhampton Council with the common aim of reducing street litter within the city and making the streets both cleaner and safer for all members of the community.
"Our aim is to patrol in an intelligence led manner focusing our controls on identified litter hotspots operating a robust but always proportionate methodology to tackle the problem, utilising a wide range of technical support including body worn cameras.
"Kingdom has been delivering a wide range of environmental investigations and enforcement services on a national basis since 2009 and have consequently contributed to a reduction in street litter and the associated cost of street cleaning as a result of our efforts."
Prior to the introduction of the new regulations, people who dropped litter, smoked in the workplace, fly-tipped or let their dogs foul in public places were given a £70 penalty that reduced to £50 if paid early.
However, under the new rules, anyone caught will be hit with a flat fine of £75, which will also apply to teenagers as young as 16 for the first time ever.
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