A date has been announced for when private enforcement officers will leave Peterborough’s streets.
Officers from Kingdom Services Group have been patrolling parts of the city since the summer of 2017 after signing a contract with the city council.
Kingdom was brought in to patrol two areas covered by Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), allowing it to hand out £80 fines for offences such as littering, spitting and cycling on Bridge Street.
However, there were claims Kingdom was targeting the most minor offenders, while in April the firm was criticised after one of its officers allegedly threatened to fine children protesting about climate change in the city centre as they were supposedly making too much noise.
A Kingdom spokesman said there had been no intention to carry out the threat.
Now, council leader Cllr John Holdich, who championed Kingdom’s arrival, has revealed the firm will be replaced by the council’s own enforcement officers from January 31.
The council’s Prevention and Enforcement Service will take over the responsibility with officers expected to tackle more offences and operate across the city.
Kingdom is currently penalising offenders in the city centre and an area covering Millfield, New England, Gladstone, Eastfield, Lower Bridge Street and the Embankment.
The replacement of Kingdom was revealed by the PT in April, a fortnight after the controversy surrounding the young protesters.
That has now been finalised in the council’s latest set of budget proposals which were released today (Friday).
The disappearance of Kingdom is expected to help the council net a surplus of £380,000 a year as all fines will now be kept in-house.
Under an initial trial period Kingdom was keeping all of the money which it took in from handing out fixed penalty notices, although when the contract was renewed at the start of this year Kingdom began taking £45 and the council £35 of any tickets issued.
Kingdom’s enforcement officers handed out more than 11,000 FPNs in its first 18 months.
The £380,000 a year profit is part of a series of changes which have been announced.
. Three additional parking enforcement officers
. Additional income for the housing enforcement team as a result of new legislation which requires more properties to have an HMO licence
. A shared CCTV service with Fenland District Council which will be available for use by private companies for a fee
. Removal of the dedicated traveller service which manages unauthorised encampments. The responsibilities would be shared among the wider PES
. Removal of the anti-social behaviour team with control for managing victims and perpetrators of anti-social behaviour moved to the police and other organisations.
Leader of the council’s Labour group Cllr Shaz Nawaz said: “I am pleased the Kingdom contact is being brought in-house, especially following the debacle last year of trying to issue fines to children in the city centre.
“The Labour group have been asking for this to happen for some time. Outsourcing such services seldom, if ever, works. Unfortunately, Conservative ideology is all about thoughtless outsourcing. The same thing happened with Amey. They can’t say we did not warn them. When will this administration learn?”
A series of articles on the budget proposals will be published online at https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/politics from 5pm today (Friday) and over the weekend.
Residents can have their say on the budget proposals either at www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget, or by picking up a hard copy of the budget from the Town Hall in Bridge Street or at any city library from Monday.