Actions will speak louder than words in Wild West Croydon

The signs have gone up around town, as if they are “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters in Dodge City in the Wild West. Except this is Wild West Croydon. Don’t you dare dump rubbish on our streets, or you’ll face the full force of the law is the clear message. There must be a new sheriff in town.

Fines poster Well sort of.

Broad Green councillor Stuart Collins has been announced as the Labour-run new council’s lean, mean, green machine deputy leader, or something like that. He’s in charge of T-shirts and slogans.

The big failure of the previous Tory Town Hall administration was the abandonment of any enforcement as far as the cleanliness of our streets was concerned.

Veolia, our street cleaning contractors, get to monitor their own performance (yep, seriously: which exec director signed off on that contract for the council?), and determined fly-tippers could go about their dirty business with impunity in Croydon knowing that there would be no one on the look-out and prepared to slap a fixed penalty notice on them. In one year, barely 1per cent of fly-tipping cases reported in the borough were prosecuted under the Tories.

So Collins’s poster campaign is a statement of intent. But is there any action to back-up those bold words?

The local papers have been quick to run stories – fed to them from the comms department in the council HQ at Fisher’s Folly, no doubt – of how selfish fly tippers have been caught in the act and fined. In one ironic instance, the official action came after a resident snapped the offender, and his car registration plate, and informed his ex-councillor, one of the Conservatives who had lost their seat in May’s local elections.

Where the Tories let down the people of Croydon, and contributed to losing the election over the state of our streets, was by drastically reducing the street scene budget. Reports of fly tipping appeared to go ignored by the council. In truth, they probably weren’t: there was simply no staff left available to take any action.

We have repeatedly asked Collins, in response to his social media statements about the council’s tough new stance on rubbish, about the level of that commitment to back that up. How many officers have been assigned to this task?

Stuart Collins: got the slogan and the T-shirt. But how many staff are backing up the bold words?

Stuart Collins: got the slogan and the T-shirt. But how many staff are backing up the bold words?

We have yet to get an answer to what would seem a straightforward question. Meanwhile, tenants in multiple-occupancy properties continue to dump their black bags, spilling out the goop of domestic waste on to the borough’s pavements. According to the council’s own figures, there were at least 30 reported instances of rubbish dump in Croydon, every day of the year.

The scale of the issue suggests that Collins needs , somehow, from somewhere, to assign a regiment of council officers to deal with the problem. This will mean more than doling out a few T-shirts. So how many Croydon Council officials are out there, serving letters on the tenants and – more importantly, their landlords – insisting that they change their behaviour?

Fly-tippers do what they do because it saves them money, sometimes makes them money, and they can do so with little fear that they will ever be caught. Only when we get the statistics for the cases brought against offenders through 2014 will a proper assessment be possible of what real action is backing up the poster and T-shirt campaign.

Because as John Wayne would always drawl when playing the sheriff in a lawless Wild West town, actions always speak louder than words.


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1 Response to Actions will speak louder than words in Wild West Croydon

  1. What did the Broad Green Labour councillors do for the last eight years? Weren’t they paid enough to represent their residents in Broad Green? Are they trying to say that though they raised the issue of fly tipping, nothing was done?

    I reported a serious fly tipping issue in Broad Green last year and it was dealt with the next day. It is just a PR stunt by the new administration to say the previous administration did nothing. Councillors had the responsibility to question the authorities and they didn’t.

    Has anything changed in Broad Green since 1998 (1998-2006 Labour, 2006-2014 Conservative council) except new flats all over the place?

    It’s all a cheap (sorry, expensive as far as the tax-payer is concerned) publicity stunt by the new administration.

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