Smokers fined for putting cigarette down for a moment

The campaign group North Wales Against Kingdom Security is helping two smokers who were fined for putting lit cigarettes on the ground for a moment. In one case, a bus driver got off the coach and lit a cigarette outside the door. An elderly gentleman wanted to come down the stairs, so the bus driver put his cigarette on the floor, and helped the man off. He then picked the cigarette and finished it but an operative leapt in and issued him a fixed penalty notice in the meantime. In another case, a lady (who is is disabled and uses a mobility…

£400 fines for putting rubbish in the bin

Now Rother Council has joined Camden Council in fining members of the public for putting their rubbish in the bin. A woman in Battle, East Sussex, picked up waste that had been strewn over a council carpark after seagulls ripped open bin bags. Because she put the rubbish in the carpark bins, she was sent a £400 pound fine for ‘fly tipping’. Like Camden, Rother Council subcontracts enforcement to a private company, who is paid per fine (in this case, the company is National Enforcement Solutions). At worst, the lady made a well-intentioned mistake of putting rubbish in the nearby bins. By…

Campaign to End Fining for Profit

What is fining for profit? Private security companies are employed by local authorities to issue penalties for criminal offences such as littering or anti-social behaviour. These companies are generally paid per fine issued, which creates an incentive to issue as many fines as possible. According to a recent Manifesto Club report, 66 councils employ a private company to issue fines for criminal offences. 90% of these councils pay the company per penalty issued, or use another system that means that the more fines they issue, the more money they make. Fining for profit began over a decade ago, with a single company…

Interview: CPNs are being ‘given out like confetti’

Jim Nixon was a police officer for 20 years and has since worked as an ASB manager and consultant for councils. He discusses his experience of Community Protection Notices (CPNs) – why they are a problem, and how they might be improved. What is your experience of CPNs? I have seen CPNs being given out without a lot of thought to the evidence. I found that housing officers and ASB officers were giving them out like confetti, and police officers were doing the same. Officers have been given very little training around ASB in general, and there is a wide range of…

The Corruption of Punishment 2022 – Report

Defra 2019 guidance prohibited the issuing of penalties for financial motives. Yet a new Manifesto Club report finds that council enforcement is ‘more marketised than ever’, with a record number of private companies competing for the right to issue FPNs for environmental and ASB offences. The Manifesto Club report – The Corruption of Punishment 2022 – found a ‘cut throat’ market, with 10 private companies pitching for council enforcement contracts (up from 5 companies in 2018). 90% of councils paid the company per FPN issued, or used another payment system that gave incentives for the company to issue as many fines as…

Interview: Environmental Health experts on the trouble with CPNs

John Pointing is a barrister and David Horrocks is a chartered Environmental Health Practitioner; together they run Statutory Nuisance Solutions. They have decades of experience in the environmental health field, and co-authored the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health guidance on Community Protection Notices. What follows is an edited transcript of an interview with John and David, in which the discuss the trouble with CPNs, the reasons for the falling standards in local authority enforcement, and what needs to be done. What is the background to the changes in environmental health enforcement? The shift in Environmental Health enforcement started to occur around 2003,…

Pensioner says that he’ll go to jail rather than pay cycling fine

An 82-year old man was given a £100 fine for cycling in Grimsby town centre. The cycling ban was part of a Public Spaces Protection Order issued by North East Lincolnshire Council. Along with other local authorities in the region, NE Lincolnshire Council employs the private company Kingdom Security to issue penalties for its PSPO, which means that the company is paid per fine issued. Our data shows that, in 2021-2 there were 553 penalties issued by the company for violating the PSPO in NE Lincolnshire, and that many of these fines for cycling. The 82-year old said that he didn’t know…

Lib Dem Councillors against ‘fining for profit’

We are delighted that the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors has decided to take a stand against ‘fining for profit’. Drawing on Manifesto Club work on the area, the ALDC has produced a Campaign pack and a Draft Council motion on the issue. These are only available to its members, but the council motion can be viewed here. If you are in an area where private enforcement companies operate on commission, you could contact Lib Dem councillors and ask if they will challenge these practices, pointing them towards these excellent ALDC resources. (Of course, the council motion might be of interest to…

Pensioner fined £400 for sweeping her street

We have been contacted by a Camden pensioner who was slapped with a fine for ‘fly tipping’, after she swept part of her street and put the litter in a bin over the road. Her street was filthy and had not been cleaned for a week. She swept up the street litter – largely cigarette butts and sweet wrappers – from outside her house and the house of her elderly neighbour, and put the half carrier bag of rubbish in the bins over the road. As a reward for her efforts, Camden Council sent her a bill for £400 pounds, and a…

CPNs: Do you need help?

Have you received an unjust CPN? Do you need help? We are partnering with the Freedom Law Clinic to provide legal support for people who have received a Community Protection Notice. Qualifying solicitors will work with CPN recipients to provide legal support, such as advice on appeal process, writing court testimonies, or submitting informal appeals to the council. Their work will be overseen by solicitor and Freedom Law Clinic director Luke Gittos. Qualifying solicitors will also prepare case reports of historic CPNs, documenting events and the legal process, and providing support where necessary. At the same time, the Manifesto Club will work…