Environment

Kingdom litter squad contract thrown in bin

By Mary Wells

Controversial litter police Kingdom will soon be no longer on patrol in Wirral.

The Council has announced that the contract with Kingdom has been terminated by mutual consent, even though it was set to run until 2021. This follows the ending of the Kingdom operation in Liverpool last year – the intimidating nature of Kingdom staff was cited as one of the reasons why.

Kingdom was regarded by many as being over zealous in its pursuit of offenders, working to definitions of ‘litter’ and ‘trade waste’ that many people do not share.  There were also doubts that this sort of environmental protection task should have been out sourced to a private company in the first place, one which, it is claimed, targeted its operation in urban areas with high concentrations of people, which meant little has been done to deter littering and dog fouling in rural spots.

Kingdom also offers a financial incentive to local authorities with which it partners, saying that: “We operate a range of payment schemes all guaranteeing no cost to the local authority. Kingdom’s costs are recovered by the Fixed Penalty Notices we issue and…our average 75% payment rate…has resulted in us raising £3.3 million for local authorities in the past 12 months.”

Speaking of the decision, Councillor Anita Leech, cabinet member for environment said: “Residents have told us time and again how important clean streets are. They want us to tackle the small minority of people who think it is OK to drop litter, fly-tip, and allow their pets to foul the streets.

“This is why we launched our zero-tolerance policy towards this environmental crime. Our primary concern was and remains to protect our local environment, maintaining the area’s many beauty spots and improving areas where environmental crimes repeatedly take place.

“The goal of the contract with Kingdom was to deter and punish those who commit environmental crime. But it is clear the approach wasn’t right for everyone and so, after listening to the feedback and meeting with many residents, we have decided to end the contract by mutual consent.

“We will now take some time to reconsider our wider litter and dog fouling strategy. Later this year, we will launch an extensive consultation with residents to help develop a new method of prevention which works for local people and keeps our beautiful borough litter-free.”