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Wandsworth pilots body cameras to stop litter

Wandsworth pilots body cameras to stop litter
Environmental officers have been deployed wearing body cameras in the London Borough of Wandsworth to help tackle littering as part of a new pilot project.

Under the new scheme, the team of six environmental officers wearing the body cameras will carry out daily patrols, imposing fines of £80 to anyone they catch dropping litter on the streets.

The 12-month pilot will be run by contractor NSL, which is responsible for all of the borough’s on and off-street enforcement services, as well as the suspensions service and management of the council’s fixed and mobile CCTV resources. The team will work alongside the council’s existing in-house staff.

Wandsworth council currently spends around £4 million per year on keeping its streets clean. Last year, the council says that more than a thousand fines were issued for fly tipping and littering in the borough. It is not currently clear how much the new scheme will cost, but it is hoped that it will go some way towards recouping some of the additional cost of clearing up litter.

The main focus of the new initiative is to combat littering, but the council will also be targeting businesses, residents and unlicensed waste removal operators who dump their waste unlawfully on streets and public highways.

The council’s environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “The vast majority of residents take great pride in their local communities, but we want to send out a really strong message to the irresponsible and inconsiderate minority that think they can get away with spoiling our borough. I’m confident NSL will deliver a programme that will not only provide an effective deterrent but also encourage offenders to recognise and address the error of their ways.”

In addition, the council will be using portable CCTV cameras at several ‘hotspots’ with the aim of gathering evidence to obtain more prosecutions.

Phil Pughe, NSL’s Neighbourhoods Account Director, said: “Littering blights many busy and densely populated urban areas and the vast majority of responsible residents and local businesses are fully supportive of any programme that will address the problem and keep their local areas clean and safe.

“Our experience in helping to reduce the incidence of littering and encouraging behavioural change among habitual offenders has delivered very positive outcomes for other authorities and we’re delighted to now be applying this experience in Wandsworth.”

Wandsworth council has also introduced an app, Report It, which allows residents to report people fly tipping and graffiti as well as other environmental problems.

The addition of enforcement officers presents an alternative approach to tackling littering and fly-tipping to that taken by Liverpool last week.

At a meeting of the Liverpool City Council cabinet on Friday (17 February), Mayor Joe Anderson declared that he was seeking ways to incentivise residents to report offenders, even suggesting that those providing photographic evidence of fly-tippers could be given reductions or even a year off paying their council tax.