FINES for littering and dog fouling around Bognor Regis are being handed out every 50 minutes.
The latest figures from Arun District Council show its enforcement trial has seen more than 1,200 fixed penalty notices issued. These have been imposed during the some 120 man days of patrols by the two-five officers which council has hired for the experiment.
Its success led councillors to agree to extend the trial for two more years from next May 15 and to increase the ‘fines’.
The cost of throwing a cigarette butt on the ground or failing to clear up dog excrement could rise from the current £80 to £100, or whatever level is needed, to sustain the service.
The decisions by Arun’s environment and leisure working group will go to its cabinet member for technical services, Cllr Stephen Haymes, for a final decision early next year.
Working group chairman Cllr Phil Hitchins (C, Aldwick W) said: “I really welcome this report. In my opinion, the trial is working.
“People’s actions change once we have dog wardens walking around. I’m 100 per cent in favour of this.”
Cllr Dr James Walsh (LD, Beach) said: “We are doing the right thing. Please take this forward and make sure we enforce it.”
Cllr Jim Brooks (I, Marine) said litter was one of the biggest complaints raised by residents in his ward.
“People ring up about it all the time. I don’t see anything wrong with putting more money into extra officers.
“Let’s have more enforcement and really nail this problem down.”
Cllr Paul Wells (LD, Hotham) called for the patrols to wear more easily seen clothing.
“I feel there should be a more high visibility presence in terms of what they wear. They can melt away in dark clothing when they stand in doorways.
“But cigarette butts are a problem and I welcome this approach. It does seem to be having an impact.”
Council licensing manager Sarah Meeten said talks had begun with East Hampshire District Council, which supplied the enforcement officers, to make them more identifiable.
“They will have identification on their uniforms more clearly in future.
“The vast majority of offenders are local people. The busiest part of the district for officers is Bognor Regis.
Figures have shown a significant peak in tickets issued in the town centre area.”
Nine out of ten were for littering, rather than dog fouling, because this tended to occur at the start and end of the day. But patrols had taken place at 6am to tackle the problem.
The project is free for Arun. The expenses are paid by the fines imposed. A total of 63 fines have been unpaid and the cases are set to go to court early next year.
Councillors also agreed to expand the contract to enable the enforcement officers to enforce all dog controls and confiscate alcohol where needed in the public space protection order area which covers most of Bognor Regis.