Hundreds fined for 'enviro-crimes' in Dacorum during first month of enforcement action - 66 per cent were for littering

Dacorum Borough Council introduced Enviro-crime officers who have the delegated powers to issue Fixed Penalty Notices

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 1:03 pm

Over 430 people in Dacorum have been issued an £80 fine since the beginning of November, when Dacorum Borough Council introduced District enviro-crime forces to crackdown on littering and dog fouling across the borough.

In a bid to make Dacorum a cleaner and safer place to live, work and visit, the council partnered with District Enforcement, a company that specialises in environmental enforcement.

And 433 people have been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) after they were caught either deliberately dropping litter, cigarette waste or breaching the council's Public Space Protection Orders in the Borough.

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Between November 1, and November 30, District enviro-crime officers have issued a total of 433 FPNs of £80 to people who were observed committing offences as part of their patrols and have visited every ward throughout Dacorum.

Discarded cigarette waste

The most common form of littering so far has been discarded cigarette waste, which has accounted for over 66 per cent of FPNs issued (286 fines). This statistic backs up Keep Britain Tidy’s research which found that dropped cigarette butts are the most common form of littering, found on 79 per cent of the 7,200 sites surveyed as part of their Local Environment Quality Survey of England 2017/18.

Tackling Dog control

Cllr Julie Banks and enforcement officers at Grovehill shops

As well handing out fines for littering, officers have issued FPNs for dog fouling, persons not being in control of their dog and for failure to keep a dog out of an enclosed play area or keep it three metres away from play equipment.

Locations

District Enforcement Officers have been patrolling Dacorum, seven days a week, including, town centres, parks and open spaces, areas that have been identified as ‘hot spots’.

FPN breakdown

The range of offences and number of people fined in November are:

> Littering – 302 FPNs

> PSPO Skateboarding or Cycling – 107 FPNs

> Spitting – 15 FPNs

> Dog control – 5 FPNs

> Urinating and street drinking – 4 FPNs.

Cllr Julie Banks, portfolio holder for community and regulatory services at Dacorum Borough Council, said: “We want to make Dacorum a cleaner and safer place, and for people to be proud of where they live, work and visit.

"This is why we are now taking a targeted approach to fine people who think it is acceptable to drop litter on our streets and not pick up after their dogs.

“The first month of enforcement action has highlighted that people don’t regard cigarette waste as litter, which has led to a high number of fines.

"Dropping cigarette butts is still littering and not disposing of them properly harms the environment and makes our streets look untidy.

"As well as plastic, cigarette filters are made up of thousands of chemical ingredients, including arsenic, lead and nicotine, all of which can end up in our waterways and be highly toxic to fish and other marine animals.

“I am also particularly pleased to see that FPNs have been issued for dog fouling, which is an emotive issue and one that the public frequently bring to the attention of councillors.

"We have already noticed a change of behaviour within high foot fall areas. This just goes to show education plays a key element within our service delivery.”

District Enforcement have been given powers by Dacorum Borough Council to issue Fixed Penalty Notices of £80 for littering and breaches of our PSPOs. Should the FPN not be paid, the offender could face prosecution and a potential fine of up to £2,500.

Enviro-crime Officers receive intensive training and ongoing professional development to maintain high standards. They also wear Body Cameras to capture interaction between officers and members of the public.

Dyl Kurpil, managing director at District Enforcement, said: “We have a dedicated team of officers who, on a daily basis, patrol the district and take a fair and proportionate approach to the issuance of a Fixed Penalty Notice for any environmental crime offences they witness.

"This new partnership between District Enforcement and Dacorum Borough Council has proved to be a successful one and we look forward working with each other in the future.”

But, some people who have been fined have called for clarity on the public space protection orders.

Hemel Today recently reported on two cases where members of the public who had been fined for breaching the public space protection orders, wanted the signs outlining the orders and 'no cycling' zones to be clearer.

Colin Davidge, 68, who regularly walks his dogs - two dachshunds - in Gadebridge Park was fined £80 after one of his dogs entered an area in the park that dogs are excluded from.

Colin claims he was unaware of the fines for the exclusion of dogs in specified areas.

He says his dog ran off towards the trees near the café and returned when he called him, and then he was issued an £80 fixed penalty notice by an Enviro-crime officer.

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Hemel man calls for clarity over public space protection orders after being fine...

He was then issued a £80 fixed penalty notice.

Mr Perry says there were no ‘no cycling’ signs at the entrance at either end to the route.