Wrexham Council criticised over outsourced litter enforcement

Wrexham Council has received criticism over its decision to outsource its zero tolerance litter enforcement to Kingdom Security, after it was revealed the council only received 11 per cent of the firm’s £263,000 litter fines.

Wrexham council has been using Kingdom Security to enforce rules on littering and announced in April there would be a zero tolerance approach to littering in the borough. Officers from the private firm have been patrolling the town handing out fines of £75 for the offence of littering and dog fouling, dishing out a total of 3,153 fines in the six months between April and September.

Marc Jones, of Plaid Cymru in Wrexham, said: “Littering is a major problem that’s not been helped by council cuts to its Streetscene department. Anyone who litters deliberately is letting Wrexham down and, while I’d back any move that stops people littering, I have concerns that the council is outsourcing litter fines to a private security company.

“This company has been criticised for fining people after a dummy was dropped by a baby, and a woman was fined £80 for feeding ducks. There are also cases in Wrexham where tissues accidentally dropped have resulted in fines.

“This begs a couple of questions – is this company paid by results? If so, it will be more interested in fining people than making sure the streets are tidy. In the area where I live, repeated requests to the council to clean up the streets have been ignored, while penalising people is the priority.

"If litter is such a problem, let’s see the council employ more people to tidy up and – where necessary – fine offenders.

“Kingdom Security are making hundreds of thousands of pounds from this contract. How much is the council making? I’m not sure the council is getting the balance right.”

Responding to the criticism, Cllr David A Bithell, lead member for environment and transport, said: “Clearing litter and dog fouling cost Wrexham council £1.2 million each year and, in a bid to ensure the irresponsibility of people who drop litter and fail to pick up after their animals stops having such an impact on public funds, we decided to adopt a zero-tolerant approach to enforcement.

"There is never an excuse to dropping litter. We do not consider the contractor to be over-zealous as they have been carrying out our priorities. The executive board recently approved the undertaking of procurement exercise for a two-year contract.

"Any contractor may submit a tender for that contract once it is duly advertised during the procurement process.

"We cannot share information on the existing contract as to do so would be commercially sensitive.”

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