Calls are being made for a review into Brighton and Hove’s new litter cops following a flood of complaints of over-zealous behaviour.
Brighton and Hove News has reported how the new environmental enforcement officers, who were brought in to tackle fly-tipping, littering and dog fouling, have been accused of pouncing on young smokers dropping cigarette butts and artists painting murals.
It’s also come to light that the officers, working for contractor 3GS, have wrongly been telling dog walkers on the seafront that they could be fined for not having their pets on leads.
Now, two councillors have requested a review of the service after receiving complaints themselves.
Conservative Tony Janio and Green Louisa Greenbaum have written to next week’s environment committee to say: “The new service, supporting the council’s strategy to encourage everyone to produce less waste and recycle more and tackle antisocial and illegal behaviour, is a move we supported.
“With any new system, however, there needs to be a period of ‘fine tuning’ and, given that local councillors have received some complaints about ‘over-zealous’ enforcement, we would be grateful if the chair of the environment, transport and sustainability committee would agree to a monitoring report being brought to this committee detailing the feedback, both good and bad, from the contract over the first few months of its implementation.
“Each year the council receives dozens of complaints from residents about fly-tipping, litter and other antisocial behaviour and we are keen to see that the system retains the trust of the residents.”
One of the dog walkers who was incorrectly told he would be fined said that when he called the 3GS call centre, he was told that “Bournemouth is very hot on dogs” and that their officers had the power of arrest (they don’t).
He added that the council had since told him 3GS had no remit to approach people whose dogs were loose – although it was correct that they should be on a lead on the promenade.
Mark Elsworth was approached by the officers on Monday, May 23. He said: “I was walking my dog about five weeks ago along the prom, by the Carousel chippie, when I was approached by two guys. They had no identification apart from polo shirts with the B&H logo on.
“They told me the dog should be on a lead. When I replied that I was unaware of this – which I was – they told me to read the sign behind me and also said it was an on the spot £75 fine if I didn’t comply.
“I spoke to other dog owners who’d been spoken to in the same way, and one of them told me a friend of hers had been fined.
I wasn’t happy about this so rang the council – no one knew who to contact about the enforcement officers, or who managed them, and eventually I was put through to someone who asked me which part of Bournemouth I had been in when this happened?
“When I queried this I discovered that I was speaking to someone in a call centre, who went on to tell me that the officers have the power of arrest – which they don’t.”
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