New enforcement officers will be on the streets of Northampton from next week to ensure the town stays clean and tidy.
In December, Northampton Borough Council announced that Kingdom Services Group Ltd had been awarded a new environmental enforcement contract.
Part of Kingdom’s remit will be to encourage members of the public to use the numerous bins provided throughout the town rather than drop their rubbish on the ground. Anyone caught littering will be issued a fixed penalty notice, including those dropping cigarette butts or chewing gum.
Staff have been recruited and will be trained during the next week, then they will take up their duties across the town centre.
Councillor Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for environment, said: “During the first week or so, the new enforcement officers will aim to educate rather than immediately hand out fines.
“That said, their primary aim is to prevent littering – including dropped chewing gum and cigarette ends which have become such a blight on our streets.
“We have found that the only way to deter some people from their casual, anti-social attitude is to hit them in the pocket, so that’s precisely what will happen.”
The contract is set to run for an initial three-year period and will be paid for entirely from the proceeds of enforcement action.
But a fundamental element is that Kingdom cannot offer staff commission based on number of fines, meaning they will only be handed out where necessary.
To begin with, enforcement officers will concentrate on the town centre but as soon as this activity begins to have an impact, they will start to patrol other areas of the town.
“We have just awarded our new environmental services contract and that will launch in the summer,” added councillor Hallam.
“It is vital that we make improvements to the cleanliness of the town and these two commissions will work in tandem to do just that.
“We want people to take pride in our beautiful town, not be ashamed of it, which is why we are taking a no tolerance approach from this point on.”
Throughout the initial contract, the council can choose to expand the service to cover other areas and possibly include fly-tipping enforcement. If necessary it can be extended for up to two years.
Kingdom will be responsible for administering all fines including a robust appeals process. Operatives will use body-worn cameras to gather evidence to support their actions.
Performance will be monitored throughout the contract and enforcement activity should result in a downward trend in the number of littering incidents.