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Stab vests and body cams for new Sandwell Council taskforce

By David Cosgrove | Sandwell | News | Published:

A taskforce tackling issues from dog fouling and litter to anti-social behaviour has been launched in Sandwell.

Councillor Elaine Costigan and council leader Steve Eling with some of the new environmental protection officers

Council bosses said the team of environmental protection officers (EPOs) are now on the streets tackling 'the issues that matter to our residents'.

The council has spent £200,000 to form the 18-strong team, who are armed with stab vests and bodycams to record evidence.

Council leader Steve Eling said: “The EPOs will be out taking action on all of the issues that matter to our residents.

“These are the things people tell us need sorting out in their communities and I’m proud that we’re taking action.

"People are fed up with a small minority causing problems like fly-tipping and dropping litter or not paying tax on vehicles, and Sandwell residents keep telling us they want more enforcement to tackle these issues.

“This is about making our streets cleaner and safer for everyone and I hope people will give the new EPOs a warm welcome when they see them on their patrols.”

The team will work seven days a week, 8am until 10pm, in communities all over Sandwell’s six towns.

The officers will work alongside the council’s environmental enforcement team, who are tasked with tracing and fining fly-tippers.

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The 16 officers and two supervisors will also be tackling street-drinking, unauthorised encampments and off-road bikes.

And they have the powers to issue fixed penalties to anyone caught throwing litter out of vehicles.

The team will be issuing fixed penalties ranging from £30 to £200 depending on the offence.

Cabinet member for public health and protection Elaine Costigan added: “We know that dog fouling, litter and anti-social behaviour are all things that people don’t want in their communities.

“People shouldn’t be throwing rubbish out of cars or not picking up after their dog in the first place. But anyone caught by the EPOs can expect a ticket.”

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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