Causeway Coast Coast and Glens Council enforcement officers issued 3 fixed penalty notices in August for littering offences whilst private contractor WISE issued 749.
The Council employs two officers directly for the purpose of detecting/investigating Littering offences. In a response to a freedom of information request submitted by us, it highlighted that the job roles, however, 'cannot be directly compared as they are tasked with other duties and investigations.'
The year-long trial between Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Waste Investigations Support & Enforcement (WISE) got underway on Monday 2nd August 2021.
Earlier this week DUP Councillor John McAuley said the behaviour of enforcement officers from WISE (Waste Investigations Support & Enforcement) when issuing fines has been described by one Causeway Coast and Glens councillor as ‘criminal’.
He also raised concerns that the officers were only concentrating on littering of cigarette butts because they are an ‘easy hit’.
At the Environmental services committee Councillor Adrian McQuillan proposed a working group was formed to meet with WISE. Councillor McAuley seconded it saying: “Let them prove their worth and see if they can focus on other aspects rather than cigarette butts. They won’t be keen to do that because they are making a fortune from the smokers. They need to remember this is a trial.”
Causeway Coast Community requested the below information in relation to the above article from the Council’s Public Relations department on the 2nd September 2021.
- How many enforcement officers* do the council employ directly?
- Based on the number, do they have the authority to hand out on-the-spot fines similar to WISE?
- How many fines have Council employees issued compared to WISE (749) in the month of August?
Due to a lack of response, we were forced to follow up on this query twice in a five day period with a similar response received from the PR department each time that 'they were chasing it up'.
This was a simple enquiry that should not have required such effort to receive a response and due to the information not being forthcoming, we were left with no alternative other than to submit a Freedom of Information request to gain the requested information.