Tesco gives King­dom war­dens the boot

Bangor Mail - - YOUR VIEWS - The King­dom of­fi­cers filmed as they were told to leave the car park at this store in Holy­head

EN­FORCE­MENT of­fi­cers try­ing to dish out a ticket to an el­derly Tesco cus­tomer were thrown off the su­per­mar­ket’s land by its se­cu­rity staff.

Video footage of the con­fronta­tion sug­gests it wasn’t the first time staff at the store in Holy­head have had to tell King­dom its war­dens are not wel­come on its prop­erty.

Anti-King­dom cam­paigner Mark Wat­son be­gan film­ing when he saw a war­den talk­ing to an el­derly cou­ple.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Wat­son, a fe­male King­dom op­er­a­tive wrote out the ticket for lit­ter­ing and then got into a parked ve­hi­cle. As Mr Wat­son quizzed the other en­forcer about why he was on pri­vate land, a se­cu­rity guard ap­proached.

He told the King­dom em­ployee to leave, adding “you have been told be­fore” not to go onto Tesco’s land. At that point the King­dom staff drove away.

Mr Wat­son said: “I be­came aware of an el­derly cou­ple re­ceiv­ing a fine so tried to in­ter­vene. The of­fi­cer is­su­ing said ticket pro­ceeded to scream in my face and shouted a cau­tion at the old cou­ple, then jumped in the car. I got my phone out and started record­ing. The rest can be seen in the video.

“I posted my video to show aware­ness that these King­dom em­ploy­ees have no right to col­lect fines on pri­vate land.”

He said the video was “high­light­ing the prob­lem we are fac­ing with King­dom em­ploy­ees think­ing they can do what they want”.

King­dom has con­tracts with coun­cils across North Wales. In Conwy, there have been protests over the coun­cil’s use of the firm to catch dog walk­ers com­mit­ting a range of of­fences.

Ear­lier this month a case against a Flintshire woman ac­cused of drop­ping a cig­a­rette out­side a su­per­mar­ket was dropped af­ter Sains­bury’s backed her up by say­ing its own CCTV showed her put­ting the butt in the bin.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We are aware of this in­ci­dent t at our Holy­head store, where our se­cu­rity y guard in­ter­vened in or­der to dif­fuse the sit­u­a­tion.”

King­dom has ap­proached for com­ment. been KING­DOM has come un­der fur­ther at­tack, with its staff ac­cused of “dish­ing out fines like there’s no to­mor­row”.

Holy­head Town Coun­cil has passed a mo­tion con­demn­ing some of King­dom’s prac­tices, hav­ing sent a let­ter to Anglesey Coun­cil out­lin­ing its con­cerns.

It comes af­ter the Tesco car park row.

Cllr Vaughan Wil­liams, who pro­posed the mo­tion, said: “We all want to see cleaner streets. But many peo­ple I speak to ob­ject to the meth­ods em­ployed by King­dom.

“This com­pany has faced re­ports of ha­rass­ment, as well as com­plaints its en­force­ment of­fi­cers have been in­tim­i­dat­ing and acted ag­gres­sively.

“Add to that the com­plaints about the firm tar­get­ing vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple and hand­ing out fines for triv­ial in­ci­dents, and you have to ques­tion whether we want this firm op­er­at­ing in our town.”

The Plaid Cymru coun­cil­lor added: “Dish­ing out fines like there’s no to­mor­row may well make this firm mil­lions in prof­its ev­ery year but does it ac­tu­ally make our streets cleaner? I’d ar­gue it doesn’t.”

Cllr Shaun Red­mond, who sits on both Holy­head town and Anglesey coun­cils, added: “Most, if not all, Holy­head coun­cil­lors have been ap­proached by mem­bers of the pub­lic who are con­cerned about the way King­dom goes about its busi­ness.”

The mo­tion states: “The town coun­cil ex­presses its con­cern at the al­leged meth­ods used by King­dom in or­der to gen­er­ate profit, namely the tar­get­ing and ha­rass­ment of in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing vul­ner­a­ble in­di­vid­u­als in our com­mu­nity.”

In March 2017, Anglesey coun­cil au­tho­rised a 12-month trial with King­dom to han­dle on-the-spot fines for lit­ter­ing and dog foul­ing.

Since De­cem­ber, King­dom of­fi­cers have also been pa­trolling some coun­cil-run car parks and the is­land’s high streets.

Fol­low­ing Gwynedd Coun­cil’s re­cent de­ci­sion to start a 12 month trial with the St He­lens-based com­pany, King­dom is now deal­ing with lit­ter and dog foul­ing is­sues in ev­ery county in North Wales.

A King­dom spokesman said: “We wel­come the fact the town coun­cil recog­nises the need for ef­fec­tive en­force­ment.

“We do not, how­ever, recog­nise the state­ment about the meth­ods de­ployed by our highly trained and pro­fes­sional of­fi­cers.

“In the last year only 0.29% of com­plaints have been up­held fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the re­spec­tive coun­cil.

“In ad­di­tion, King­dom is one of the largest and most highly re­garded pri­vate com­pa­nies in the UK, op­er­at­ing a range of ser­vices across a va­ri­ety of sec­tors. The at­tempt to link over­all fi­nan­cial re­sults solely to the work of the en­force­ment di­vi­sion is illinformed at best.

“The re­al­ity is that those mak­ing the com­plaints are the ones com­mit­ting the of­fence of drop­ping lit­ter, and do not like get­ting caught do­ing so.

“Our mes­sage to that mi­nor­ity is sim­ple: do not drop lit­ter which spoils the en­vi­ron­ment for the ma­jor­ity.”

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