Agenda item

Activity Report and Future Proposals Relating to the Enviro-Crime Enforcement Pilot Project


The Committee considered the report presented by the Business Manager – Public Protection which sought to provide Members with an update on the enviro-crime activity undertaken by Waste Investigations Support & Enforcement Ltd. (WISE) as part of the enforcement pilot.  Members views were also sought as to what criteria might be included in any future contract specification. 


Included within the report were the duties and activities undertaken by WISE with paragraph 1.2 providing statistical information thereon, this also included information as to the number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued, paid, remained outstanding and cancelled.  The information was further broken down into FPNs issued within each of the district wards together with the number of patrol hours by WISE operatives.


In considering the report, Members raised a number of queries which the Business Manager responded to.  These included, but were not limited to: how the areas to patrol were determined; the reason for the high proportion of FPNs not paid or cancelled; effectiveness of partnership working between WISE and the Council; effects and possible remedies of littering from vehicles; working in schools to educate students; evidence gathered to aid in possible prosecutions; do FPNs act as a deterrent; are sufficient and appropriate receptacles provided to stop littering occurring; and training of WISE operatives.


Members were in agreement that the issue of littering from vehicles was a matter for concern.  They noted that the litter was mainly from fast-food outlets and queried what more, if anything, could be done to prevent this.  The Business Manager advised that it was challenging to catch the offender and also to prove who actually threw the litter from the vehicle.  He added that on occasion a receipt was found alongside the litter which detailed the premise the food was purchased from.  However, despite the premise having CCTV, it was not permissible to view the footage for the purpose of identifying the individual and again, this would not provide evidence of who threw the items from the vehicle. 


In relation to the number of FPNs either cancelled or payment remaining outstanding, the Business Manager advised that there would always be a period of time between the FPN being issued and payment being received which accounted for the high number remaining unpaid.  He added that FPNs were cancelled for a number of reasons e.g. false details being given to WISE operatives (name and address) or possibly the perpetrator being underage or deemed to be vulnerable on further investigation.  He further added that several perpetrators who had not paid their fines had recently been successfully prosecuted.


Members suggested a number issues be considered for inclusion in future contract specifications, these being: a review of whether FPNs were effective and appropriate for identified repeat offenders; that there be specific targeting of littering where it had a visual impact on an area e.g. removal of all the litter rather than just cigarettes ends; that a review of the provision of bins be carried out to ensure they were appropriate for the area they were located in e.g. if there was a known issue with cigarette ends then the bin should have a specific disposal cavity for those.  It was noted that the existing good working relation with cleansing services resulted in a review of the provision of bins where littering was identified as an issue. 


AGREED      (unanimously) that:


a)            the enforcement activity of the Enviro-Crime pilot to-date, be noted; and


b)            when areas of service activity or performance were considered for inclusion in any future contract specification, the comments made by Members, as above, also be considered.

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