Reflecting on a successful year in Peterborough
First of all, let me start this month’s column by wishing all readers a happy Christmas and new year, writes Rob Hill, assistant director: public protection (Peterborough and Cambridgeshire).
The past 12 months have certainly flown past and as usual at this time of year I like to spend a little time reflecting on what we’ve achieved.
We have made some great strides when it comes to tackling fly-tipping, with some successful awareness campaigns focused around duty of care.
Back in February, the council opened our new household recycling centre in Fengate, and already statistics show there has been a stark drop in the number of incidents reported.
We’ve also helped crack down on illegal cigarettes and tobacco, seizing 90,800 cigarettes and 23kg of hand rolling tobacco during inspections and warrants served on local premises.
We’ve investigated 740 abandoned vehicles and, where appropriate, arranged for their removal and disposal.
Across the county, we have seized £1,500 of counterfeit clothing, £35,000 of counterfeit vehicle merchandise and £135,000 of counterfeit key fobs and sat nav cards.
These are just some of the many highlights from a busy 2019, and no doubt 2020 will prove similarly successful.
Many people will be shopping for toys over the festive period and we’d like to remind shoppers to look out for tell-tale signs of counterfeit and unsafe products.
This follows recent seizures of harmful toys, both locally and nationally.
Toy seizures by Trading Standards teams over the past year include more than 1,000 teddy bears from a Cambridgeshire business which failed safety tests, electric scooters with no safety documentation, and audio items that exceeded legal decibel limits.
Counterfeit versions of popular toys – such as L.O.L surprise! dolls, which were described as last year’s ‘must-have’ Christmas toy - have been found to contain phthalates, a chemical which can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system.
When buying toys in shops look for the authentic CE mark on toys or their packaging which confirms they meet consumer safety standards.
Latest industry figures show that more than 4.2 million counterfeit products, including toys, worth £21 million were seized by councils in 2018/19.
And it tends to be the case that fake and potentially dangerous toys flood the market around Christmas time as criminals exploit a surge in demand for sold-out items.
Some good advice on what to look out for can be found here: https://local.gov.uk/christmas-shoppers-warned-against-dangerous-fake-toys
The Christmas and New Year period is of course the busiest party season of all.
Thousands of people will be heading out on the town with friends, family and work colleagues over the next few weeks.
We want to make sure everyone has fun and gets home safely, so you’ll be reassured to hear that the popular taxi marshal scheme is continuing to operate during this time.
Marshals will be operating every Friday and Saturday night, up to and including Saturday, 28 December and they will also be operating on New Year’s Eve (Tuesday 31 December).
Two Security Industry Authority (SIA) registered marshals will operate on the city’s Broadway taxi rank, working to prevent alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour, and ensure passengers can access taxis quickly and get home safely. They will also work to stop private hire vehicles from touting.
The marshals carry body worn cameras and radios which will give them access to CCTV and the police.
The safety of the public is our utmost priority and the marshals provide a valuable service, particularly at busy times, such as the Christmas period and New Year’s Eve.