New fly-tipping teams have been accused of harassing shoppers.
The teams, introduced last week to crack down on high street fly-tipping across the district, have been accused of pursuing shoppers through shops and not adhering to their brief.
One woman was left in tears outside B&M, a shop on the Town Square, after numerous members of the fly-tipping clean-up crew, which is part of National Enforcement Solutions, had pursued her around the shops on the high street.
Basildon Council has denied these allegations and asserted that no formal accusations have been made about the fly-tipping teams but an unnamed claimant stated that they’re pursuing people through town.
And that they’re actively following people into shops and that they dragged a woman off her bike to give her a fine.
It appears that they’re tactics aren’t effective and not normal and they’re not doing what was promoted either.
All they’re doing is looking for people who are smoking and might drop their cigarette stubs on the ground, but according to Basildon Council, residents regularly tell the council that they don’t want to see littering and fly-tipping within their borough.
A council spokesperson said that many of their residents do the right thing with their rubbish and that they were proud of their community volunteers who give up their time to help support them in keeping the borough tidy.
According to the spokesperson, officers are always in full dual-branded uniforms which are highly visible and that the officers don’t hide and they patrol extremely populated areas and that officers patrolling, acts as a deterrent, however, if they witness an offence they will take details and issue a fine.
The spokesperson further said that officers are trained to do this often difficult job and that the council expects them to uphold high standards at all times and should they get any complaints, and it was said that at present they have not had any direct complaints to date, that they would take them seriously.
But they should be focusing on the large scale fly-tippers or are they on a bonus scheme?
A cigarette stub, whilst antisocial, is hardly the crime of the century, is it?
How about pursuing the genuine concerns, like the large scale fly-tippers who dump stuff in roads, driveways and fields or is the reasoning that once they’ve fined some people, it will make others aware of their actions.
Dropping a cigarette stub is littering, not fly-tipping and if the correct word was used and the crew did what their job title said they’re supposed to do instead of vexing shoppers and no doubt, old ladies who want to feed the birds.
And this all for fining litter louts, be it a wrapper or a cigarette stub. Of course, those who get caught will have a whinge about it but what does the litter police do, they stand there like a well-armed band of highly trained elite security force, their left hand, shaking their right hand, with the boss man in dark shades, and it’s a funny look for those that are merely searching out people dropping litter in the town centre.
There have already been litter wardens in the town centre and they were withdrawn after it was revealed that they were costing far too much money because at the end of the day they’re not making any revenue from what they do.
And sadly, they won’t find many fly-tippers if they’re too occupied roaming around the town centre for butt throwers.
So, rather than serving the good people of Basildon and providing much-wanted services, like fly-tippers, they’re aggravating people and making money out of the hard-working taxpayers of Basildon who are already funding this service through council tax.
An implementation which supports people to be effective is great, so educating children to use rubbish bins is a great step forward, after all, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and some of these children are better behaved and responsive than some grown-ups.
And making people more aware of their lackadaisical attitude, which seems irrelevant to some, makes a huge difference in the concept of understanding our responsibility to our society and environment.
The problem is, they’ve hired people to do a job that gives them a little slice of power.
Cigarette litter is certainly a huge concern, but they don’t have to pursue people around the town centre, there are loads of shops where people stand and smoke, they’d be prime areas if that’s what they’re wanting to pursue and unquestionably makes more common sense.
And as a private litter officer has no powers of detention and is prohibited from touching you, I fail to see how they can force someone to give their details, and all they need to do is show their credentials and ask you to pick up the litter, therefore no fine, unless they decline.
And I see a dilemma here. So the council put a group of people together, the (litter police), to stop fly-tipping, like bin bags, cookers, rubble, garden waste, plastic, mattresses, toys and bottles et cetera.
If that’s the case, then why are they only working in the Town Centre shopping area? Seems a tad strange, unless the media have given out the wrong impression, and to catch fly-tippers they’d have to be out there 24/7 and be mobile and not on foot.
Stalking people and following people who smoke to see if they drop litter is covered under the RIPA act (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) and is illegal and if you believe you’re being watched or pursued by one of these enforcement gorillas, call the police, the real police, that is.
And porky the bus driver and his equally corpulent mates stand in the bus station smoking away, they’d better watch out but of course, nothing will happen to them.