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downsmail.co.uk Maidstone North Edition


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


July 2017


Smokers targeted by town’s lier police


THEvast majority of fines handed out for “littering” in Maidstone have been for dropping cigarette ends, Downs Mail has learnt.


Almost 94% of fixed penalty no-


tices (FPNs) have been targeted at smokers discarding butts during the period April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017. A total of 1,921 tickets were is-


sued in that period, with the sec- ond category of offence filed under “other litter” with just 78 fines (4%). “Other litter” can be tissues, drinks cans or plastic bags, says Maidstone Borough Council (MBC). Food accounted for 23 tickets (1.2%), fouling five (0.26%) and paper 11 (0.6%). Our disclosures come as MBC


has roundly defended the private contractor, Kingdom Security, which carries out its litter enforce- ment. MBC says it has earned £66,895 in under two years from Kingdom’s fines. Kingdom denies it pays its staff a


bonus scheme for tickets issued, but rather employs a more general “competency allowance” which takes in other factors such as cus- tomer service and feedback aswell as the FPNs. MBC has also chosen to back Kingdom despite a BBC Panorama documentary, which clearly set out the case that Kingdom does operate a bonus-for-tickets system for its staff.


Borough councillor Eddie Pow-


ell, who is worried the authority may lose the moral argument over ticketing, said: “If there is a public backlash over this, it will be the


council which will be blamed by the public, not Kingdom Security. “MBC has employed this com-


pany to carry out the work and takes 50 per cent of the ticket money for doing very little. “Is this litter enforcement or sim-


ply an easy way of making money for the council? The residents will have worked that one out for them- selves.


“Morally, MBC is wrong on this.


There is also a moral duty to look very carefully at the terms of this contract, because the council is the responsible body. “Unfortunately,we live in a soci-


ety where people just chuck stuff away in away they did not 30 or 40 years ago. That’s just a sad fact of life in our society today. “But in this case, we have to be


careful about the terms of engage- ment.”


Kingdom was suspended on


May 16 in the wake of the Panorama programme’s revela- tions, but were back on the streets again the following day. Last October, the Kingdom war-


dens were suspended after one handed out a ticket to a woman feeding ducks in Tovil. They were quickly reinstated. An MBC spokesman said King-


dom does offer staff “a competency allowance, but it’s not just attached to fixed penalty notices, it’s linked to other things aswell.” She added: “How they are con- ducting themselves is rigorously policed by ourselves. We expect them to enforce fairly and trans- parently.”


Leaders unite


01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT


maidstone@martinco.com 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent


MUSLIM and Christian leaders in Maidstone have united in the wake of terror attacks in London and Manchester to condemn violent ex- tremism, promote goodwill in the community and pray for victims and their families. 20


webexpand.co.uk Parish Councils 32


CLLR Fay Gooch was elected chairman of the parish council at Barming; 20 bags of rubbish were collected during a clean-up in Loose; parking on the pave- ments in Burial Ground Road, Tovil, is now considered to be a police matter; orange beacons on the zebra crossing in Barming are said to be “ineffective”.


Crime Reports 32


A SHED in Barming was broken into; electronic gates in Week Street were damaged by a man trying to leave after they were closed; a wallet with cash and credit cards was stolen from a van in Allen Street; milk was stolen outside a house in Allington.


Obituaries 34 Comment 46-47 web design google promotion ecommerce•• 01622 880840


FREE No. 243


News New radio planned


A MAIDSTONE charity is aiming to launch a new radio station to be run by volunteers at its Marsham Street base. 4


Hazlitt’s charmer


SOAP star Stefan Booth is Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Hazlitt this Christmas.


4 Head’s Ofsted praise


OFSTED has praised the work of the head at Tree Tops Primary in Park Wood. 14


Lockmeadow re-opens 16


LOCKMEADOW leisure site has re-opened five months behind schedule.


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