New company appointed to enforce Bedford town centre rules

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Work to ensure that Bedford continues to be a safe and welcoming place to visit sees District Enforcement Ltd awarded a contract to deter those from spoiling our parks and open spaces and Bedford town centre from environmental offences.

Taking over from LA Support at the end of their contract, District Enforcement have been awarded this contract in Bedford Borough following a procurement process.

They will have the power to enforce and issue fines to people seen littering, spitting, cycling through the pedestrianised area during the day, allowing their dog to foul and not clearing it up, and other dog control issues.

From Monday, November 2, District Enforcement will join the Council’s officers and people will see the change with a new dark blue uniform.

The scheme itself won’t cost the council, and therefore tax payers, a penny as it is self-financing, with costs being covered by the income from the Fixed Penalty Notices paid by those who litter, and commit other environment offences.

Cllr Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment said: “I received countless complaints of anti-social behaviour by individuals in our town centre and in open spaces across the Borough. So, following consultation, we introduced Public Space Protection Orders which gave us the powers to issue fines to tackle these anti-social behaviours, as well as against people littering.

“We want Bedford Borough to continue to be a safe, welcoming and clean place to live, work and visit.

“Unfortunately, there are a minority of people who do not do their bit and that is not acceptable. We will continue to enforce against anyone who is seen dropping litter, endangering pedestrians in the town centre, and not controlling and cleaning up after their dog in a responsible way.

“The Council will continue to work with our contractors, ensuring that they operate in a fair, transparent and thorough way – tackling offences where they are seen, and providing a valuable service to local residents.”

Colin Buchanan, Head of Operations for District Enforcement Ltd said: “District Enforcement is excited to be working in partnership with Bedford Borough Council and play our part in keeping such a beautiful borough clean, tidy and safe. I am confident with our dedicated team of officers, who will on a daily basis, patrol the whole borough of Bedford, we will see a behaviour change within the borough.”

Greens welcome the replacement of Kingdom in enforcing littering ban.

Green councillors welcome the replacement of Kingdom in enforcing Bedford’s littering ban, and hope that the new enforcement company will end the over-zealous enforcement that has seen people given fines who never should have been and even led to people deciding to never go back to our town centre.

Cllr Lucy Bywater said: “At times in recent years Kingdom have intimidated people and left them in tears. This was unacceptable behaviour that should end with the change of contract. I worry, though, that even under this new contract, staff will have targets and incentives to issue penalties that will be more important in their minds than reasonableness, compassion, or what is best for the town.”

Ben Foley said: “Cllr Royden claims the council will continue to enforce against anyone who is seen… endangering pedestrians in the town centre.”

“Presumably this is his way of describing the ban on cycling in the town centre, but the truth has been that many cyclists who in no way were endangering pedestrians have been given fines in recent years.

“Equally those who truly were cycling dangerously were left untouched by Kingdom staff who couldn’t stop them. I very much hope this will change, and that the new contractors will be instructed to only enforce against people whose cycling does endanger.”

Conservatives say it’s more of the same

Cllr Roger Rigby commented on this development: “Protecting Bedford from antisocial behaviour is vital, the previous company Kingdom‘s scruffily dressed employees badged as Borough employees, went after easy targets for maximum profits to be shared between the Borough and Kingdom. 

“What Bedford needs is an in-house scheme with staff genuinely being Bedford Borough employees, properly managed, fining when necessary, guiding and advising when not, not more of the same. We need to make people welcome to the town not drive out people who make a genuine small mistake.

“Too intensive enforcement for money is greedy and self defeating.”

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