Re­minder goes to lit­ter pa­trols

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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