In June 2016 Thanet District Council signed a 3-year contract with Kingdom Environmental Services to manage its litter and dog fouling enforcement services. Kingdom’s enforcement officers patrol the streets of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs issuing fixed penalty notices of £80 to anyone caught dropping litter or allowing their dog to foul. Thanet Council pays for Kingdom’s services by splitting the money raised from the fines, with the lion’s share of the cash going to Kingdom not Thanet Council.
On Monday this week, BBC Panorama broadcast an undercover expose of Kingdom in which it was alleged that its enforcement officers are paid bonuses based upon the number of fixed penalty notices they have issued. The BBC also exposed the use of highly questionable pressure tactics by some Kingdom enforcement officers and how some officers focused on soft targets – all to maximise the number of penalty notices they issued and the size of their bonus. The programme led me concluded that Kingdom was engaging in what seemed to be a form of legalised highway robbery!
Last year Kingdom’s profits were £9 million, an increase of 30% on the previous year.
According to a recent Freedom of Information request Kingdom issued 3,891 fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling in Thanet at £80 a time that’s a staggering £318,480. Most of this cash goes to Kingdom According to its website Kingdom provides environmental protection services for 8 Kent Council including Thanet. The others are Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Swale, Canterbury, Gravesham, Dartford and Ashford councils.
It was reported by Kent Online that Maidstone Council has now suspended its contract with Kingdom and Swale council are reviewing the situation. On the basis of the evidence broadcast by the BBC I believe that Thanet Council should terminate its contract with Kingdom with immediate effect and bring the enforcement service in-house where it can managed and delivered and in fair, honest and transparent way, unlike Kingdom.
Here’s the link to the BBC article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39882434
Here’s a link to the Kingdom website http://blog.kingdom.co.uk/2016/09/kingdom-wins-new-three-year-contract.html