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Maidstone Borough Council ends its contract with Kingdom Services Group

The council is ending its contract with the under-fire company which provides the town's litter warden service.

Maidstone Borough Council and Kingdom Services Group came to the mutual decision after a meeting on Tuesday.

Kingdom has been providing enforcement services in the borough over littering since 2011.

Litter enforcement officers in Maidstone have been removed from duty
Litter enforcement officers in Maidstone have been removed from duty

The council currently subcontracts Kingdom to patrol and issue £80 tickets to people caught dropping rubbish in the town. The money from these fines is split 50/50.

Wardens have been criticised in the past for their overzealous approach, with the service temporarily suspended for two weeks and reviewed after a woman was fined for feeding ducks in the River Medway in September.

The justification given was that there were no ducks present at the time but the fine was withdrawn shortly afterwards.

Wardens were temporarily taken off the streets again in May after it was revealed in a BBC One documentary, Inside the Litter Police, they were being paid substantial bonuses based on the amount of tickets issued.

The council insisted it was not aware of the extent of the “litter competency allowance” paid by Kingdom Security.

The service may now be brought in house
The service may now be brought in house

Jennifer Shepherd, head of environment and public realm, said: “When our contract began with Kingdom, our focus
was very much on targeting littering and irresponsible dog ownership.

“This has been very successful at reducing littering and encouraging people to use litter bins and act responsibly.

“Our focus has to change and adapt to new challenges we are seeing in the borough.

“Now the contract is coming to an end, we will work to ensure we continue with our enforcement service in a way which is flexible but meets the needs of local residents.

“All options will be explored, and that includes re-tendering for a new enforcement contract, or bringing the service in-house.”

Kingdom has contracts with 28 councils nationwide.

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