Council Reminds Everyone to ‘WISE’ up to Deal with Environmental Crime

Council Reminds Everyone to ‘WISE’ up to Deal with Environmental Crime
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is taking action against environmental crime. (Front row L-R) Gillian Topping, Head of Environmental Services, Lord Mayor Councillor Kevin Savage, and Councillor Darryn Causby, Chair Environmental Services Committee, pictured with WISE Officers who are now on patrol across the borough to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to anyone dropping litter in the street or failing to pick up after their dog.

Extra resources are being drafted in to help tackle increasing littering and dog fouling problems across Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.

From Monday 17 May, the council has partnered with Waste Investigations Support & Enforcement (WISE) for a yearlong trial.  WISE are a specialist supplier of environmental crime services to councils across the UK.

This partnership will visibly increase the number of Enforcement Officers out and about, with WISE employees having powers, granted by council, to issue an £80 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) to anyone dropping litter in the street or failing to pick up after their dog.

Failure to pay an FPN may result in prosecution being brought and a much higher fine being imposed by the Court, as well as a potential criminal record.

The Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Councillor Kevin Savage said:

“Cleaning up our public spaces is a priority for council.  The scale of littering and dog fouling on our streets and in our parks and open spaces has unfortunately increased, causing real frustration for council officers, the general public and our residents.

“At the heart of this issue is a need to tackle that minority of people who still believe it’s acceptable to drop their rubbish wherever they please, and those people who simply can’t be bothered to take it home with them. It can’t just be about education or awareness-raising, nor can we afford to just throw more money into street cleaning, there has to be a realistic deterrent and we believe issuing Fixed Penalty Notices will have impact and become a real deterrent.

“Working with WISE and having new dedicated environmental enforcement officers on patrol seven days a week to issue on the spot fines to those caught in the act will send a strong signal that we mean business.  Dropping litter is an act of anti-social behaviour creating a lasting impact on our environment. There is never an excuse and I think the majority of local people believe we are right to be targeting offenders in this way.”

Managing Director of WISE John Dunne who is leading the team in the borough said:

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to proactively tackle environmental crimes across the Borough, a region that has so many beautiful outdoor spaces, villlages and towns. Our aim is to reduce environmental crime for the long term and to help ensure these popular areas are pleasant spaces for everyone to use and enjoy.

“Our officers are trained to carry out their role using a wide range of technical support equipment including body worn cameras and a handheld computer which will confirm the identity of an alleged offender before issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice.   Our patrols will focus on identified hotspots received from complaints and feedback from the general public”.

The council wants to work with everyone to bring the issue of environmental crime rates down across the borough, and is asking the community to play it’s part by behaving responsibly to stop this type of antisocial behaviour for the benefit of everyone