Thousands fined for littering, spitting and cycling on Bridge Street in Peterborough
Scores of cyclists, litterbugs, spitters '“ and even someone who defecated in the street '“ have been fined Â a total of more than Â£750,000 in the first year of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.
Peterborough City Council introduced Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) in the city centre and in Millfield in May last year - and in just over 12 months, 8,824 fines have been handed out to residents breaching a number of offences.
People who breach the PSPO are given an £80 fixed penalty notice - but if this is not paid they are taken to court. So far 320 people have had court action against the, with an average fine of £220, along with £180 court costs and a £30 surcharge - meaning around £750,000 has been gathered in total.
All of the money gathered in the fines goes to enforcement firm Kingdom.
They claim the initial £47.50 on every penalty - whether £80 fixed penalty notice or the £220 court fine - with the rest going to the city council, although this is used to pay the Kingdom officers.
However, the penalties have been criticised, with two cyclists travelling through the city on their journey from Southend to Bridlington caught on their bikes riding down Bridge Street given the fine, with one of the riders, Mark Booker, labeling the bill as unfair.
However, Cllr John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, defended the fines, and said: “The number of people fined vindicates the stance we have been taking.
“We were getting a lot of public reaction regarding anti-social behaviour in the city, and this shows we have taken action.
“I think the fines are fair – £80 acts as a deterrent to stop people acting in this way.
“We don’t make a profit from this – we break even.”
Cllr Holdich said the council was now looking at expanding the scheme to other areas of the city.
He said: “We are proposing to spread this across the city, possibly setting up our own company to run it, and using the money from the fines to fund it.
“That is what the public want.
“Since we have introduced the PSPO, the city has become more pleasant. There used to be lots of litter, you had to dodge cyclists. I used to get lots of letters criticising it - now I get letters saying thank you.”
The Peterborough Telegraph asked the city council exactly how much money had been raised through the fines - but Peterborough City Council refused to reveal the figure.