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Complaints double over litter on Worcester streets
COMPLAINTS over the state of Worcester’s streets have more than doubled in a year – with councillors saying they now want help from the police.
Your Worcester News can reveal just 14 people have been handed on-the-spot £80 fines by the council for littering since January, plus one for dog mess.
A panel of politicians has admitted the council’s scarce resources are making it difficult to dish out more fines, and wants West Mercia Police to help.
Although the force has held talks with council bosses over using the powers available to it several times, it has consistently refused to get involved.
The scrutiny committee has agreed that a letter needs to be sent to Mr Longmore to request talks over a change of tack.
There were 14 complaints to the council over Worcester’s streets from April to August this year, compared to just six in the entire previous 12 months.
Politicians described the hike as “alarming” and suggested Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) could help the battle.
Tory group leader Councillor Simon Geraghty said: “We’ve clearly got to shift the focus so all the ‘eyes and ears’ of possible enforcement are used.
“It’s mad when we get people saying they can’t do this or that. At times of serious financial restrain-ts, why not get PCSOs to do the same as council officers?”
During the debate politicians said despite £1.25 million being spent on 533 litter bins being emptied several times each week, the fact complaints are rising is a serious concern.
At the moment all 15 council enforcement officers are trained to fine people.
Councillor Roger Knight, Worcester’s former cabinet member for cleaner and greener said: “We have got to actively punish people for littering, and then declare the fact we’ve done it.
“There comes a time when we’ve got to stand up and say ‘no, this can’t carry on’.”
Labour councillor Paul Denham said: “We have heard the police saying they aren’t fining people and won’t do it, so surely we should be looking to the commissioner.”
A motion was backed saying the council is “concerned” about police reluctance to fine people, urging Mr Longmore to intervene.
The force has always insisted it wants to fight serious crime, and leave dog fouling or littering to councils.
However, Mr Longmore said: “I welcome the letter from the leader of Worcester City Council on this matter and it is something I will be discussing with the chief constable when I speak to him next.”