Is Croydon’s Labour council’s “Don’t Mess With Croydon” campaign against fly-tippng beginning to run out of momentum?
The propaganda unit in Fisher’s Folly has issued its latest bulletin on the number of prosecutions on the council’s “get tough” strategy, announcing that they have now prosecuted 123 people in the last two years.
But of the nine people up before the beak earlier this week, four of them were being prosecuted for the relatively trivial offence of dropping a cigarette butt.
Cleaning up the streets of Croydon was a key manifesto commitment by Tony Newman’s Labour group in 2014, but despite a lot of slogans, T-shirts and bold statements, there’s growing concern among some Labour councillors that the council’s enforcement team and contractors, Veolia, have not made enough real improvements.
“The council says it is tough on fly-tippers, and they have made a lot of prosecutions, including impounding vehicles for several of the worst offenders – the cowboy operators who go door-to-door and charge residents to remove their bulk rubbish, and then just dump it illegally when they think they’re not being watched,” one back-bencher from a litter-strewn ward in the north of the borough said today.
“But when four out of nine convictions are for cigarette butts, it’s beginning to look like the council is trying to bulk up its prosecution figures. People will see through that, especially when the austerity cuts mean that their streets are not being swept or kept as clean as they have a right to expect.”
Offenders were handed fines and costs totalling £2,865 at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. But £1,145 of that came from four cigarette butt offences, with three people fined £350 each.
And with no apparent reduction in some people’s willingness to act anti-socially in dumping their household waste on the streets, and council contractors busy chasing after the latest night-time dumpers, the council is increasingly turning to groups of volunteers to do the jobs which residents pay their Council Tax for.
“So far, the campaign has also encouraged 309 locals to lead over 100 community litter picks,” the council boasts, apparently unconcerned that such worthy activities only further serve to highlight the inadequacies of their contractors’ performance.
Stuart Collins, the cabinet member in charge of the clean streets campaign, meanwhile maintains the mantra: “Fly-tipping and littering on our streets is unacceptable and these prosecutions show we will take action against offenders who ignore the law and blight our borough.”
Collins does still, at least, have the help of a telephone hotline for residents to report fly-tipping, despite some within the council having wanted to drop the service as part of the cost-cutting “online only” strategy, forcing people to use the council website, which would often result in no report being filed at all.
Reports of fly-tipping (or even cigaratte butt dropping apparently), can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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