ModGov Infozone - Click to go to Tamworth Borough Council website

Agenda item

Environmental Crime Policy Update 2023

(Report of the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health and Community Partnerships)


Including a verbal Community Safety update from the Assistant Director, Partnerships and Chief Inspector Rob Neeson


The chair welcomed the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Environmental Health, the Assistant Director, Partnerships and Chief Inspector Rob Neeson to discuss the report of the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health and Community Partnerships to consider proposals for amendments to environmental crime fixed penalty levels outlined in the Government ASB Action Plan.


The Portfolio Holder introduced the item explaining that in May the Government introduced a new anti-social behaviour action plan which enables the council to review their policies and highlighted the following information –


Ø  The penalties for fly-tipping and littering have been increased including for fly-tipping up to a maximum of £1000, there are instances where the Council can still take people to court, where they could possibly face imprisonment.

Ø  Environmental cameras are now live on Masefield Drive and we are now considering where else they can be installed.


The Assistant Director asked that the committee to consider the issue of penalties first.


The committee made the following comments/observations and asked the following questions:


1.     The committee highlighted that there are domestic and commercial fly-tipping but also fly-tipping that links to organised crimes and that the maximum penalty should be used for these actions.

2.     Why have the Littering, Graffiti and Fly-posting items been categorised together?

The Officer confirmed that they are treated as separate things but are together as in the Environment Crime Policy the fines are the same level.

3.     How many cameras are in place? Are they covert and have they been advertised.

Officers clarified that there are six deployable cameras (one at each site) and the Masefield Drive area was chosen as it is a littering hotspot. A press release has gone out. There are signs in place and leaflets have gone out. The cameras are overt.

A second camera has just gone up in Tinkers Green and another hot spot has been identified which they are looking at. They are looking at a litter cam on the old A5 and working with Highways around how this could be done. This would be used to identify items thrown from cars and identify the car to issue fixed penalties.

The cameras are battery powered and footage is fed straight back to a laptop and can also be used to address other forms of ASB.

4.     The committee highlighted that the council need to consider the bureaucracy around the bulky waste service available to residents (an example of the service not taking corner sofas was given) to encourage people to use the service.

5.     With regards to the ‘Duty of Care’ it can be cheaper for people to contact a ‘man in a van’ and pay the fine, than to arrange a skip to dispose of waste so this needs to be considered when setting fines and also look at making legal ways of disposing of waste affordable.

The officer clarified the duty of care is around households being responsible for ensuring that those disposing of their waste has a valid waste carriers licence.

6.     The committee noted that according to the statistics for over 1100 actions the council had only issued one fixed penalty for fly tipping.

The portfolio Holder commented that the new Community Impact Officers should help with prosecutions.

7.     How do we support people with mobility issues to dispose of waste legal?

The officer confirmed that the options would be waste disposal services which will incur a fee.

8.     The committee highlighted that education was important, however that this should not be over the top as this is something that people may not  do often. The fines should also act as a deterrent to repeat behaviour.

9.     What happens after fining people? Is it communicated the fine has been made.

Officers confirmed that the issuing of a fix penalty notice is advertised. If the fine is paid, this negates the criminal activity, if the fine is unpaid then the council proceeds to prosecution which then incurs a higher fine and budget on the Council.

10.If fees are increased to the maximum, do we also have to issue the maximum fine and can the council exercise discretion when issuing fines? For example, if someone is seen dropping litter, can they be given the opportunity to pick it up before they are issued the fine?

The officer confirmed that this is a good practise point of view and the council can use discretion to issue warnings.




That Committee:



Considered the proposals for environmental crime outlined in the Government Plan;



Endorsed proposals for the unchanged fixed penalty levels for Tamworth in relation to littering, graffiti, flyposting pending further review;



Endorsed proposals for the fixed penalty level for fly-tipping to increase to the maximum level of £1000 (early payment £500) in line with the ASB Action Plan;



Endorsed the introduction of the default penalty charges for household waste duty of care offences in line with the ASB Action Plan;



Endorsed delegation to the Portfolio Holder Environmental Health and Community Partnerships to include environmental crime in the review of the Corporate ASB policy by March 2024 and report on wider implications.



(Moved by Councillor B Clarke and seconded by Councillor L Smith)


An Addition recommendation was moved that:



We set all of the fines at a maximum level




(Moved by Council R Pritchard and seconded by Councillor L Smith)



The Committee requested that a review of the bulky waste service be added to the workplan.


The Officer moved on to the verbal Community, Safety update and highlighted the following –


Ø  To make new members aware that following a motion at Cabinet the community safety reports comes to the Infrastructure, Safety and Growth Scrutiny Committee for Scrutiny annually in March but that they wanted to give Scrutiny an opportunity to look at the work being done and decide if they wanted to see any specific items or whether a more regular update was required by the committee.

Ø  The Community safety Group is required by law.

Ø  There is an outline plan for 2023-2026 as well as a work plan.


The Chief Inspector added the following –


Ø  Anti-social behaviour in Tamworth is down 26% however as this figure may not be a true reflection as some of these incidents have turned in to other crimes such as harassment and the way things are recorded has changed.

Ø  Theft of motor vehicles is a big issue in the area, but this is being address and they have seen a reduction of around 10%

Ø  Knife crime – possession of an offensive weapon has increased, this could be due to an increase in prosecutions.  Also legislation has changed around what is considered a knife crime so this may have distorted the figures.


The Committee made the following comments/observations and asked the following questions:


1.     Has the introduction in Ring doorbells helped?

Although the footage may not help the Police as offenders may often wear scarves etc, it may mean that residents may are able to see people on their driveways before any crime has been committed.

2.     The Committee highlighted that uploading evidence from images captured for the Police can be very difficult within the given timescales and can hold up investigations.

The Chief Inspector agreed to raise and look at whether more clear instructions need to be made available.

3.     The Committee agreed that they would like to see a twice yearly community safety update.


Councillor J Oates left the meeting at 19:11.


Supporting documents: