Reminder goes to litter patrols
Karen Whimpenny, manager of the Mind charity shop in John William Street was wrongly accused of dropping a cigarette butt by a litter enforcement officer “HEAVY handed” litter patrollers are to be told to consider how they approach people after a grandma complained she’d been targeted for nothing.
Karen Whimpenny told the Examiner yesterday a Kingdom litter enforcement officer falsely accused her of dropping a cigarette butt in Huddersfield town centre, leaving her embarrassed in front of customers in her charity shop, Mind.
Kirklees Council pays Kingdom, a private firm, to patrol the streets and hand out £75 fines when they see people littering.
And the council has now said following Karen’s complaint they will ask officers to consider their approach.
A spokeswoman said: “As no ticket was issued and the enforcement officers are directly employed by Kingdom, any complaints would need to be directed to their customer care department on 0845517700.
“However we will make contact with them to ensure they are aware of the case, and request that they consider how they approach customers as they carry out their duties.”
The firm’s officers, who wear body cams, have been working in the centre of Huddersfield since April on a 12- month trial.
They have previously been accused of heavy handedness - one woman, Linda Wild, who saw someone being fined, told the Examiner in April: “They were coming up to people with glee, videoing them.
“A woman was given a fine for dropping a cigarette end and she was in tears saying she couldn’t afford to pay it.
“Are Kirklees trying to make an example of people or just make some money?
“It’s so heavy-handed. Why not give someone a warning first?”
In August it was revealed 2,853 people had been caught dropping rubbish since April, landing them a £75 fixed penalty notice in the process.
Clr Naheed Mather, cabinet member responsible for enforcement, said at the time: “I am pleased that the trial is going so well, because littering and other anti-social behaviour affect everyone.
“Not only does dealing with the litter cost the taxpayer money but the litter itself makes the area less attractive to live and work in.
“Unfortunately we know that ‘doing the right thing’ is not enough of a driver to encourage behaviour change, so we use enforcement.
“If the threat of a fine is what it takes to stop people littering then I think it’s worth it.
“My hope for the future is that the number of tickets issued decreases, not because it becomes less efficient, but because people take responsibility and dispose of waste correctly.”
Kingdom has not yet provided a comment.