Private 'Litter Police' are an Affront to Civil Liberties

Gloucester City Council has new idea for dealing with people who drop litter or allow their dogs to foul and fail to clean up the mess: offenders will be issued with a £100 fine.


However, the council intend to employ the services of a privatised company to do this rather than deal with the issue themselves.  Up to 4 patrol officers are to be employed by a private enforcement company. The officers will be set targets for the amount of the fines they must give out. This is expected to be 20 per week in order for the scheme to be economically viable. This is financial incentivising of the issuance of fines.


Gloucester City Council Labour Group Leader Terry Pullen said “This is yet more evidence that the City Council is struggling to provide vital services. The council does not have the staff and resources to deliver services themselves, having made 60 staff redundant last year.


"Now they have to resort to using private contractors. You would think that the council would have learnt lessons from dealing with AMEY, another private contractor who have failed miserably to provide a waste and recycling service. Council services should be delivered by council staff and not to make a profit for private contractors."


Gloucester Labour Secretary, Jack Fayter added "this isn't a process that'll solve littering or clean up our streets which have been left to rot by Amey. This is, quite simply, more pointless posturing by the Tories. By having a 'litter police' it looks like they are taking the issue seriously.


"The problem is that for this litter police to be cost-neutral the number of fines collected must cover the cost of collection. They estimate that it'll need at least 20 fines collected per week just to cover the costs of collecting fines! This essentially incentivises the company to collect as many fines as possible, rather than put offending citizens through a due process.


"Powers like this should not be outsourced, and we definitely shouldn't be incentivising arbitrary application of these powers by private officers. We definitely have a litter problem, but why not incentivise the picking up of litter instead of this?"

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