Almost nine out of 10 fines issued by Bristol City Council’s litter police have been for dropped cigarette butts, bosses have revealed. A whopping 88 per cent of the 16,000 fixed penalty notices dished out by enforcement firm 3GS since it began patrolling the streets have been to smokers, despite promises that the contractors would target a wider range of offences.
The environmental operatives took over the role in February 2019 when the council dropped controversial company Kingdom following an 18-month pilot scheme marred by numerous complaints about dubious tactics used by officers to catch people dropping rubbish. About 90 per cent of the 13,000 fixed penalty notices issued by Kingdom were smoking-related, and a council scrutiny meeting in April 2019 was told this would change as 3GS had a broader remit.
A Bristol City Council officer told members at the time: “The main difference since they started is that the action they have been taking is across a range of offences.” But in a guest post on mayor Marvin Rees’s blog on Tuesday, October 25, 3GS operations manager Gordon Brady admitted that almost four years on, 14,000 of the 16,000 fines have been handed to smokers.
He wrote : “Officers have been patrolling the city every day to cut down on environmental crime and increase environmental awareness. When caught, perpetrators are given a fixed penalty notice on the spot.
“The cases of those who refuse to pay are transferred to the courts for prosecution, where they are usually required to pay a larger fine. 3GS officers working on behalf of the council have been patrolling the streets of Bristol since February 2019, and so far, have issued 16,000 fixed penalty notices, with over 3,000 cases that have either been taken to or are in the process of being taken to court.
“Our officers have issued over 14,000 penalty notices to individuals dropping cigarettes.” Mr Brady outlined a broad range of other areas the firm tackles, including graffiti, flyposting, flytipping, public urination and spitting, nuisance parking, people not putting their domestic or commercial waste out properly, failing to clear up dog mess, not keeping pet dogs under control and drinking in a no-drinking area.
But his figures show that only 2,000 of the 16,000 fines have been for all of these combined – just one in eight. He said: “The work our officers do in preventing environmental crime is vital for our city.
“The crime has an extremely negative impact on our streets and costs Bristol’s council taxpayers millions of pounds to clear up every year. As the council takes a closer look at how we can all improve our relationship with waste during national recycling week, we celebrate a partnership that has helped transform the environmental landscape of Bristol, supporting in the crackdown on offenders who have been responsible for the environmental deterioration of the city.”
The guest blog is here.
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