FOI request (FOI224040)
Requested Fri 13 October 2017
Responded Fri 13 October 2017
A copy of the instructions or guidelines issued by the council to Kingdom which form the instructions to the litter enforcers.
Any details as to how many signs are displayed warning that this trial is actually in operation. If there are none any information as to why the decision to not display any was made.
A rough idea of how many FPN notices have been issued to date and the date this trial started please. Also the way the paid fine is dispersed.
Any information as to why, based on the information I have received to date, the powers granted to Kingdom enforcers appear to exceed those of Community Support Police officers and why the opportunity to pick up the litter before issuing a FPN is not an obligation a Kingdom enforcer has to offer the offender where a CSPO does.
Finally, are Kingdom enforcers in direct contact with the police and are they permitted to threaten a member of the public with imminent arrest? Do they have the power to detain? And what guidelines are in force for any instance in which a littering offender is suffering from any vulnerability issues, impairment or does not understand English?
If I require anything else I will request it in the future. If any of the above is already in the public domain please accept my apologies and send me the link to it.
Kingdoms officers are authorised only to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for Litter under section 87 and 88 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and also for dog fouling under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act in regard to the Public Space Protection Orders. These two offences are enforced in line with our Enviro Crime Enforcement Policy. Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 87 - Littering
In cases of littering, the normal course of action will be to offer a FPN, providing the person is co-operative and is not a habitual litter offender. The offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as amended in 2005, applies to all places that are open to the air, including private open land, and land covered by water. A place is treated as open to the air if it is open to the air on at least one side, if the public have access to it, on payment or otherwise. A person does not commit a littering offence if they leave litter on their own land or if they have the permission of the landowner to leave litter. Litter is not defined, but includes cans, bottles, confectionary wrappers, food and drink containers, chewing gum, plastic bags, till receipts, left over food, cigarette and cigar ends and flyers. Litter often overlaps with fly tipping and the offence can include black bags of waste. Issuing FPNs for food litter can be contentious and the following examples should assist officers: • excessively feeding birds, warn in first instance; • fruit peelings or apple core dropped on pavement - this requires cleaning, may lead to staining and is a slipping hazard, so issue FPN; • apple core thrown into any hedge, no action. The authorised officer must be satisfied that the two elements of the offence have been committed a person is guilty of an offence if he throws down, drops or otherwise deposits any litter in any land or water open to the air and leaves it.. The offence is committed when a person discards something (e.g. puts an empty bottle on a wall, screws up a bus ticket and drops it, spits out gum, removes a sandwich from a bag and drops the bag, or throws a can into a side street) and walks away or otherwise leaves it. There is no need to prove intention. The offence may be committed by reason of the person's behaviour (i.e. ripping or screwing something up and dropping it and not making any attempt to retrieve it), or because of where the item was thrown (i.e. into a river or fenced area or from a car or bridge). To help establish the second element of the offence, the officer should note how long someone has left something before being approached or how far they have walked before being stopped. Dog Fouling - for persons who fail to clear up forthwith after a dog in their charge has fouled on land within the Borough of Hastings which is open to the air and to which the public have access, the normal course of action will be to offer a FPN, providing the person is co-operative and is not someone who has failed to be deterred by previous FPNs, in which case prosecution should be pursued. If a person decides to clear up the dog faeces after the intervention of an officer, a FPN will still be issued. Such action would be recorded and noted in the event of a subsequent prosecution. The requirement is to remove the faeces forthwith, i.e. immediately. The offence does not apply to a person who is registered blind or who has the need for an assistance dog. Being unaware of the defecation is not a defence. A person who habitually has a dog in his/her possession shall be taken to be in charge of the dog at any time unless at that time some other person is in charge of the dog. For many years littering and fouling has been a serious concern for the Council. Since about 2008 our Warden Service has been enforcing against these offences, including issuing Fixed Penalty Notices and prosecutions where appropriate. Over the years we have also run several awareness raising campaigns, including in relation to smoking related litter, which is one of the commonest types of littering in Hastings. For example we have handed out thousands of 'butt boxes' to encourage smokers to dispose of their waste responsibly, and all of our litter bins can be used for smoking related litter. Councillors often report these issues to our waste and enforcement services as they are raised by residents, and many residents contact us direct. Earlier this year we ran a social media campaign highlighting the issues and trying to raise public awareness in the hope that this would also result in some behaviour change amongst those committing these offences. We received a lot of positive feedback, including messages urging the Council to take a much more robust approach to enforcement for littering and fouling. Despite all of this enforcement and awareness raising work, and lots of litter bins, it is clear that there is still too much litter and dogs mess in the borough, and that clearing it up costs the Council and our residents a lot of money. As a result we needed to consider other potential options for addressing the problem, and the Council's Cabinet unanimously approved the proposal to run an enforcement pilot with Kingdom Services Group Ltd. Before the trial began the council carried out a press release in the local paper and there are details on our website which can be seen in the following link. https://www.hastings.gov.uk/press_media/latestcouncilnews/environmentalcrime_crackdown There is no legal requirement to have signage displayed in regard to litter but across the town there have been numerous signs placed up advising not to litter or to let a dog foul but we do not have details as to how many are throughout the town. From the 5th July to 10th October a total of 965 FPNs have been issued by Kingdom. The fine amount is collected by Kingdom and the money is sent to the council on a monthly basis I do not believe Community Support Police Officers are authorised to enforce either the Environmental Protection Act or Public Space Protection Orders relating to dog controls. There is no requirement in law to allow a member of the public an opportunity to pick up litter or dog fouling. Under the Environmental Protection Act it is an offence for a person not to give their details such as name and address if the offence of littering has been seen by an authorised officer. Kingdom Officers are not in direct contact with the Police but Police assistance will be sought where necessary. Officers do not have any powers to detain. A FPN should be issued only where, the alleged offender is compliant and able to understand what is going on, and there is sufficient evidence as to his/her identity and place of residence.
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