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Council ‘pleased with’ controversial ‘bonus’ litter police firm after first year of pilot scheme

PUBLISHED: 15:57 15 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:20 15 August 2017

Kingdom Environment staff were filmed handing out fines in Bexleyheath town centre

Kingdom Environment staff were filmed handing out fines in Bexleyheath town centre

Archant

The council is now looking for a permanent litter firm

The council has defended a firm which ran a controversial “bonus scheme” for the borough’s so called litter police, as it extends its contract until next summer.

Footage taken around Bexleyheath saw one member of staff at Kingdom Environmental Protection Services claim he could hand out fines “like Smarties” in the hope of what one manager at the firm called a “bonus” for every four fines handed out in a day.

Bexley council entered talks with Kingdom over “the way they incentivise staff” following the Panorama documentary, and with its initial pilot scheme coming to an end, the council is now searching for a suitor to run the service after June 2018.

Announcing Kingdom’s contract extension, the council said it was already “pleased with” its service, and would begin searching for permanent suitors at a later date.

But Labour leader Daniel Francis called for “further assurances” on “how staff receive bonuses and whether they are linked to the number of offences committed”.

He added: “The fact that 97 per cent of offences have been for dropping a cigarette butt or spitting suggests that other litter offences are not receiving priority, and that all offences should be a focus of any contract extension.

“In our regular conversations with residents, they are recognising that savings made to the street cleansing budget in recent years have had a serious impact on the appearance of our borough, and that there now appears to be a flurry of spending to tidy up the borough 10 months before the council elections.

“In addition, given the 48 per cent increase in fly-tipping incidents from 2015/16 to 2016/17, we have consistently pressed for additional resources to take action against these serious littering offences.”

A spokesperson from the council said: “The pilot litter and dog fouling enforcement service has been extended until the end of June 2018 pending a future procurement exercise to appoint a permanent service provider.

“The council is pleased with the overall performance of the pilot service provided by Kingdom. This service has helped reduce street cleaning complaints and litter levels across the borough.

“In the last few months over 128 successful prosecutions have been completed, resulting in keeping our borough looking cleaner as well as around £45,000 in fines and costs against littering offenders. These prosecutions have been assisted by the high quality of evidence provided, including body worn video evidence in every case.”

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