Threatened fines to climate protesting children in Peterborough could have implications for enforcement offences in the Fens
PUBLISHED: 15:19 01 May 2019
Courts are taking a dim view of offenders refusing to pay fixed penalty notices in Wisbech for dropping cigarette butts, litter or for spitting in the street with fines and costs recently topping £500 for some individuals.
Latest court findings from Peterborough magistrates reveal a proliferation of cash penalties imposed – but a question mark hangs over whether the company contracted to enforce the tough regime will stay around.
Although Fenland Council announced earlier this year it had agreed a two year deal with Kingdom enforcement agency it is a joint arrangement with Peterborough City Council – and they are considering calling it a day.
It follows claims raised in a Peterborough newspaper of heavy handed tactics been deployed by the company and came to a head when climate change protesting children were allegedly threatened with a fixed penalty notice fine for making too much noise.
City council leader John Holdich, who led the way for Kingdom to be appointed two years ago, has now told the Peterborough Telegraph that the city council is looking to introduce its own parking and environmental crime team in the coming year to replace Kingdom.
“The incident of the young children carrying out their democratic rights was regrettable to say the least, however, Kingdom's presence in the city centre has made it a cleaner, safer place to be,” he told the Telegraph.
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“All Kingdom's interactions with the public are recorded so in the event of a complaint we have the evidence required.”
Kingdom said it had no intention of carrying out the threat to fine the children but the city council still believes a change is needed.
Peterborough is one of the top cities in the country for handing out fixed penalty notices for breaching Public Space Protection Orders.
What happens in Fenland will largely be determined by the newly elected council after yesterday's local poll.
If the new council administration does, as predicted, find Cllr Chris Seaton replaced as leader by Cllr Chris Boden enforcement will be on the agenda that will embrace all aspects of council expenditure and policy. During the election campaign many Conservative candidates have indicated a major spending review would follow a change of leadership with the senior staff structure and senior staff salaries top of their agenda.
One other promise made by a Wisbech candidate was the removal of the brown bin charge.
On enforcement, however, the current Fenland leadership has promoted a business as usual attitude, awarding a two year contract to Kingdom earlier this year following an 18 month pilot.