Mar 10 2013

Harrow to see spot-fines for littering, spitting and dog-fouling?

litterReading the Council’s Corporate Plan for 2013-2015, it seem that there may be some consideration towards implementing an on-the-spot fining systems for anti-social offences such as littering, spitting and dog-fouling.

This sounds like a good thing, yes? Less litter, less spitting and less dog-crap on the pavements – who wouldn’t want that.

However, if it does happen, it’s likely to become a bigger problem than most people would imagine.

Just over the boundary in Hillingdon, the council have done exactly that, but rather than using their own staff, they’ve outsourced the action of a company called Xfor. Xfor is, according to the Daily Mail, run by former soldiers, which pocketed £1.6 million in commission payments across the UK last year.

Using covert patrols, dropped bank cards, nut shells and even pens have been enough to warrant on-the-spot fines of £80, with Xfor taking £45 from each ticket issued. The Mail continues, “One woman in Blaenau Gwent, South Wales, says she was targeted by Xfor for accidentally dropping a cotton thread from her glove.”

Bromley saw its £80 fines leap from just four to 618 last year. Blaenau Gwent council issued just seven fines in 2010-11, a number that increased to 1,147 within six months once Xfor was awarded the contract. Hillingdon council issued 3,048 litter fines last year.

Putting a stop to littering, fly-tipping and dumping is one thing. Using Xfor to push even more Harrow residents further into poverty is something completely different. We’d urge the council to use common sense on this, rather than enter into a commission-based, tackle-everyone, approach.

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  1. Jeremy Zeid HARROW UKIP

    Why do I smell the whiff of “opportunity” to fleece residents and shoppers, using strong-arm tactics and hired thugs, dressed up as “community action”?

    Why do i sense that this is little to do with littering and EVERYTHING to do with “REVENUE RAISING”.

    It the Council was serious, it would realise that £80 is WAY OVER THE TOP, and actially ILLEGAL under the English Bill of Rights 1689 (Unreasonable Fines and Bail.

    This should NOT be about “revenue”, it should be about bahaviour change.

    A simple £10 MAXIMUM spot fine would sort it out and no-one would get the hump, they would be less likely to be unpaid and cost less in Court costs and wasted Court time, especially as we no longer have a Magistrates Court. Ten Pounds is a suitable “sting” a reminder. It should NOT be seen as a CASH COW for a financially incontinent Council.

    Remember folks, the £80 fine culture is ENTIRELY a “New” Labour introductio as are all of those £1000 fines.

    And the political parties wonder why people DESPISE and HATE Councils at a deep and visceral level, and don’t botter voting.

    BTW. You DO NOT have to give or carry ANY identification. Council employees have NO POWER to demand it and therefore cannot issue a ticket. ONLY the police can demand ID and even then ONLY in certain circumstances. Check out http://www.no2id.net for your REAL rights.

  2. Praxis Reform

    I heard something similar on the radio last year, although I forget which borough it occurred in… Some lady had given her young child a potato crisp; and shortly thereafter, the child decided that it would throw the crisp out of it’s buggy. The crisp hit the floor, and the lady was quickly descended upon by three burly fellows who demanded an £80 fine.

    By all means give penalties to fly posters and fly tippers, but it would be very disappointing to see Harrow’s streets patrolled by yet another set of uniformed jobsworths, simply so that the council can keep it’s members in the style to which they have become accustomed.

  3. Morepowertothepeople

    This cannot be happening surely…… but then again Harrow Council what do you expect! Please have a modicum of decency here and do not give Xfor the contract. Thank you Jeremy for the heads up, if this is enforced we need the press to jump on board to ensure residents know their rights and that this is illegal!

  4. Praxis Reform

    I stumbled across this recently, and thought it seemed appropriate to post the link here:

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