The latest data release on Kingdom enforcement shows that cigarette related litter made up 95% of the tickets issued in March, and one town centre ward gets a more generous focus than others.
On Monday we wrote a preview of a meeting taking place this week over the performance of Kingdom enforcement officers, noting that community council invites to the company had reportedly been declined, and promised information updates were not forthcoming.
Thankfully a few hours after that article was published, Community Councils as well as all councillors had an update circulated that appears to have been drafted last week. We are told this is the first time an update has been provided to community councillors for ‘months’.
Previously we have graphed the amount of tickets issued per ward, however this time we have combined all of the wards and one ward in particular that again is the highest, with 147% more tickets than the next highest.
The data provided includes a break down of ‘offences’:
• Litter Dep-Cigarette 364
• Dog Control-Dogs Exclusion 1
• Dogs on leads 1
• Litter Dep-Food 6
• Dog Control-Fouling 3
• Litter Dep-Other 7
• Printed litter 0
• Black Bag 0
• Voided tickets 0
In total 382 tickets were issued, and it appears eight tickets were successfully disputed.
We are reproducing the in-depth ‘team leader review’ in full: “We issued 382 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s) during the month of March 2018. We have received 21 representations. All of these have now been closed. Officers have continued following up a number of requests which have proved to be Successful.”
The above means 95% of tickets issued were cigarette related.
The summary given to councillors groups 374 tickets for ‘litter’ and just 5 for ‘dog’ for March, despite dog fouling apparently becoming a higher priority for Wrexham Council.
The update also gave details of where and what times Kingdom visited each ward, and the data update says how many visits each wards had.
Grosvenor had 46 visits, Brynyffynnon 36, Smithfield 35 and Queensway 33.
Despite sitting in meetings where it was told each ward had equal ‘go’ at the enforcement, the update states that Overton, Marford/Hoseley, Gresford East/West , Gwersyllt East/South , Gwersyllt West , Brymbo , Minera , Coedpoeth, Pant, Penycae, Cefn, Plas Madoc, Little Acton , Whitegate, Garden Village, Ceiriog Valley and Llangollen Rural had just 4 visits a piece.
On top of the above 17 wards, 22 further wards had under 10 visits in the month.
73 visits to ‘Country Parks’ are also listed, with Acton Park being visited the most at 14 times, and twelve other sites also getting Kingdom enforcement patrols – but zero ticket were issued at any of the locations.
Two councillors got in touch after the data was circulated, both from Plaid Cymru, who are calling for the contract with Kingdom to be ‘ended as soon as possible’.
Cllr Carrie Harper, who sits on the housing and environment scrutiny committee, said: “Nobody condones littering but these fines are clearly not reducing litter in our communities.
“All they’re doing is enriching a private company at the expense of Wrexham citizens.
“Two councils in north Wales have now stopped using Kingdom and we should work with them and other councils to do the same.
“I want an effective strategy to reduce littering and dog mess in our communities rather than using Kingdom, which keeps going after the easy options.”
Cllr Marc Jones represents the Grosvenor ward covering the town centre and made up more than a third of Fixed Penalty Notices issued by Kingdom in March, added: “I’m as sick of littering as anyone else – but we’re having to organise our own litter picking because the problem isn’t going away.
“If anything it’s getting worse more than two years after this council gave Kingdom the contract.
“Grosvenor ward is not a cleaner place because of Kingdom making money on the back of this contract. They are making thousands of pounds every month from this contract yet Wrexham residents are getting nothing back from it.
“Of the 141 fines issues in my ward, not one was for dog fouling. This is a far more serious problem yet Kingdom is clearly not interested in tackling that matter because it’s easier to fine the young, the old and the vulnerable.”
Cllr Jones, who leads the Plaid Cymru group, added that discussions had taken place with colleagues in other councils across north Wales to find a better alternative that actually delivered cleaner streets noting that Gwynedd and Ynys Môn councils, which are both Plaid Cymru run, have scrapped contracts with Kingdom in recent weeks.
At a previous meeting in December, the Lead Councillor in charge, Councillor David Bithell, said: “Litter is litter. Irrespective if it is a bin bag or a crisp packet it is litter.
“Obviously a lot of people have disposing of cigarette ends. Our stance has always been, don’t drop litter or let your dog foul, you have nothing to fear by these proposals.”