Kingdom have been awarded a two year contract to continue their work in fighting litter in Wrexham after a ‘very successful pilot scheme’.
There has been no formal announcement as of yet from Wrexham Council, with the decision appearing to have been made late last week as attendees to the Town Centre Forum were told no decision had been made.
Kingdom themselves say they are ‘very pleased’ to have been awarded a two year contract to continue to provide environmental protection services to Wrexham Council.
Kingdom was originally chosen for a trial period in Wrexham after the council received a number of complaints regarding dog fouling in 2015, and the cost of tackling litter in the county borough had risen to £1.2million per year.
Kingdom’s Environmental Protection officers tackle litter and dog fouling in the county borough by issuing fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of £75 to anyone caught dropping litter or failing to clean up after their dog.
Kingdom has been providing such a service since April 2016 – and on day one of the scheme we documented how Eagles Meadow’s Kevin Critchley called the enforcement ‘bully boy’ tactics. Previously Cllr Bithell had a firm message of ‘if you don’t drop litter or allow dogs to foul, you have nothing to fear’ – adding that plans to employ a private partner to tackle littering and dog fouling had full political support, reiterated recently with the new decision being made.
There was a discussion in this month’s Town Centre Forum over the policy of following guidelines or the letter of the law, however due to no relevant council officer or councillor attending there was no repeat of the slanging match that took place last year. For those interested, this document is what we believe is the legislation quoted by Wrexham Council with this document being the guidelines some wish to see enforcement officer adhere to – as Councillor Bithell said, “…the guidance is just that, guidance. We are not following the guidance we are following legislation.”
In the first six months of the pilot more than 3,200 fines were issued, worth £263,475. In comparison, only 43 fines were issued by the council in 2015-2016.
During the pilot period, Kingdom say they have taken extra steps to tackle dog fouling in particular, by identifying hotspot areas, increasing their patrols around country parks, and starting their patrols earlier and finishing them later in order to catch more offenders.
In January we graphed some of the data, noting that one ward appeared to have a disproportionate focus than others in the amount of tickets issued:
Kingdom have highlighted their department involved in this contract is ‘led by experts with an ex-police and military background’. No insight is provided to how that helps dealing with stray crisp packets or rogue canine presents, however their knowledge will be used locally until April 2019.
Top pic: Man takes avoiding fines to new extreme (or not, its from 2013!).