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Under 18’s protected from Kingdom litter tickets by Council contract change

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Tuesday, Apr 17th, 2018.

Wrexham Council have given us further detail on the process of ticketing of under 18’s by Kingdom, with a tightening of the procedure that previously allowed ticketing of 16 and 17 year olds.

Wrexham Council brought in Kingdom to sort out dog fouling however their operation appears to be 90%+ focused on cigarette butts. Kingdom had a trial period in Wrexham, that was then extended to the current two year contract.

It has emerged that during the original pilot scheme, FPNs could be issued to any person over the age of 16, however in the full current contract that age limit has been increased so no FPN’s to under 18’s should be issued.

Last week Councillors voiced their concern over the Kingdom enforcement contract in place with Wrexham Council in a meeting that lasted several hours.

In the meeting it was confirmed that the contract states people under the age of 18 should not be ticketed by Kingdom officers on behalf of Wrexham Council.

As well as a lengthy report we were live tweeting from the meeting, including the point below:

In response to that tweet Ali said: “A fine was issued to my 16 year old son for walking our dog on a field the officer claimed was a marked pitch. Not so and I got the fine overturned after five weeks of badgering them, contacting my local councillor for help and threatening papers!

“He gave his date of birth to the sole officer who came out of a hedge and approached him from behind. This is also not allowed! He never asked parents telephone number or contacted psco/police to chaperone either. Again not allowed!”

The above exchange is contrary to the operating procedure cited in the meeting, and the complaints process outlined to councillors sounded smoother than a five week ‘badgering’.

Wrexham.com has read several anecdotal accounts of under 18’s being ticketed, including attempted court action. Due to that, and the now public information over the contractual obligations over ticketing under 18s we posed several questions to Wrexham Council.

We asked for ‘official’ guidance for those under 18 on what to do if they are approached, or issued with a ticket which seems can happen if there is no proof of age.

Wrexham Council told us: “You can legitimately issue a FPN to a person aged 10 years and over. However there are obvious reasons why you would not do this. WCBC have directed Kingdom not to issue a FPN to any person under the age of 18.

“However it is appreciated that some young people who are 17 years of age can look older. Kingdom ask for ID to verify the persons age. If ID is provided a FPN would not be issued and appropriate advice will be provided to the individual about the correct behaviour related to littering.”

“However if ID cannot be provided at the time when the officer has approached the young person then a FPN will be issued and the person is advised that if proof of age can be provided then the FPN will be cancelled.”

We asked regarding under 18’s reaching court under the believe they were 18 or over. Wrexham Council did not confirm or deny that had happened, however said: “During the original pilot scheme, FPNs could be issued to any person over the age of 16 therefore it is possible that a case may have progressed to court if the FPN was not paid. This approach was reviewed and changed as part of the new contract since April 2017”

We also asked if under 18’s have been issued with a ticket and paid it, what was the process for that to be reversed.

Wrexham Council said: “This would only be valid from the start of the new contract since April 2017. Each case would be considered on its own merit. If the person believes this is the case then they can contact Kingdom directly on environmentalcrime@wrexham.gov.uk ”

Councillor Dana Davies said in last week’s meeting that the number of under 18’s ticketed used to be provided in data to councillors however Kingdom have stopped doing that. We asked for a break down of the data of the number of under 18s issued with tickets since Kingdom operated in Wrexham, and hopefully, confirmation all were rescinded.

Wrexham Council declined to provide that information, however said we could attempt a Freedom of Information request.

Wrexham.com has placed said Freedom of Information request, with some further data points also requested.

Top pic: A genuine Lord Street discarded cigarette end.

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