Published: 00:01, 14 March 2015
Body cameras could be used to catch litterbugs and people who fail to clean up after their dog, if a pilot scheme gets the go-ahead.
Swale council wants to hire enforcement officers, who will wear a uniform complete with CCTV cameras, to pound the streets.
And they are so keen on the idea, they’re hoping to go ahead despite projections it will cost up to £25,000 more than it raises.
The officers would have the legal powers to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of up to £80 to people caught in the act.
If agreed by cabinet when it meets on Wednesday, the initiative would start this month and run until September.
Kingdom, which is already used by other local authorities such as Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, Gravesham and Canterbury, would provide two officers to patrol any problematic rural areas, as well as the town centres, and issue fixed-penalty notices (FPN) for the first three months.
The team will increase to four for the final three months.
It’s estimated around 1,800 FPNs could be issued in that time which would generate an income of between £75,000 and £81,000.
This would be split between Swale and the contractor.
The figures are based on a payment rate of between 70% and 75%, and people paying at the lesser amount of £60.
However, based on 12% of all cases going to court, the contractor and legal costs combined will equate to approximately £100,000 leaving an estimated deficit of between £19,000 and £25,000.
A bid to the council’s performance fund, which is available to help pay for improvements and services, has already been made in order to cover the loss.
Swale hopes the initiative will create a healthier and cleaner environment.
Cllr David Simmons, cabinet member for the environment and rural affairs, said: “We spend around £850,000 a year on street cleaning, which is a huge amount of money for picking up other people’s mess.
“Currently, we have a small number of council officers who can issue FPNs, but this is only one part of their role, which is why there are only around 100 issued a year.
“By bringing in dedicated staff, we will have a much greater impact, and encourage people to take pride in their area.”
If members decide to continue with the scheme after the trial, a full tender will take place, potentially in partnership with other authorities in order to keep costs as low as possible.
More by this authorHayley Robinson