Nearly three years ago Wirral Leaks first brought to your attention Kingdom Security Ltd (Kingdom) and the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) on behalf of Wirral Council in our Cash for Trash post. We asked the question then :
Is this more about swelling Council coffers than about environmental concerns ?
Now with Wirral Council resorting to desperate measures to raise cash by any means, be it parking charges, car emissions, business waste and land disposal those concerns have continued to grow . When it comes to Kingdom they have intensified even further due to the following report we have received from one of our ever increasing roster of roving reporters:
What will it take to break up the ‘love in’ between Wirral Borough Council and Kingdom? Street cleaning costs haven’t reduced whilst Kingdom have taken over a million pounds away from our Borough since they started their ‘Environmental Enforcement operations here in July 2015
WBC have allowed Kingdom to rewrite the rules – when it comes to environmental crimes on Wirral the onus now appears to be on the alleged offender to prove their innocence when the only evidence against them is the word of the Enforcement Officer (whose word appears to be sacrosanct, despite receiving minimal training) .The ‘zero tolerance’ approach to littering is the complete opposite to the guidelines issued by Department for Environment ,Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Within these guidelines DEFRA makes it clear in what circumstances FPNs should be issued. DEFRA’s view is that it is not in the public interest to issue a FPN where there was ‘not clear evidence that the individual intended to cause litter’. DEFRA’s suggested practical ways to deal with such situations ,notably where there is a doubt over a person’s intent, was ‘for the enforcement officer to challenge the person and to state that they have seen them drop something and to ask them to pick it up . Should the individual refuse to pick up the litter then there would be sustainable grounds for issuing a FPN and pursuing prosecution , should the FPN go unpaid’
Following the recent Kingdom WhatsApp leak reported in the Liverpool Echo and Mail Online : Shocking Leaked WhatsApp Chat Kingdom denied WhatsApp was an official means of communication. A spokesman for Kingdom said : ‘Kingdom do not recognise that form of communication . Having seen some of the language used an investigation will be carried out and if necessary disciplinary procedures may follow Kingdom expects more from its staff’
Please note that Eoin Henney (Business Manager at Kingdom until Summer 2018) set up both the Wirral chat group and the North West chat group, which included Wirral, Liverpool and North Wales councils. Below you will find from the What’s App extracts that Eoin Henney was one of the most frequent contributors . We understand that two of the other main contributors are still with the company , as team leaders . Of these two ‘MOR’ is part of a mobile team which is an ‘elite’ group that travels the North West (and North Wales when Kingdom were there) to prop up areas where the ticket totals were flagging.
There are references to the club within both chats we have viewed – membership to this “club” is restricted to officers that issued 100 or more tickets within a month, which earned them a special competency payment.
This has recently been changed to £5 bonus for every ticket over 4 issued in a single day with no upper limit.
The constant request for “scores” is proof that it is just giant competition between officers and regions, where they win and the public lose. There is no mention of the environment,of educating the public or anything professional whatsoever in the attitude, whilst the fact that numerous official instructions are issued through this medium proves Kingdom used WhatsApp as a business tool. The contempt the Kingdom staff (who are after all acting on WBC’s behalf) have for the public, particularly those in Wirral is painfully obvious.
On May 9th this year, whilst the tendering process for the new contract was underway , WBC sent the following emails to Kingdom which includes the following line from Susan Bannister : I have been advised that we only had 1 officer out on patrol on the Bank Holiday Saturday (I’m unaware of patrol hours ) and no officers on patrol on both Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday . This is unacceptable and Rob Cain will be looking into a default notice in this regard’
However as you can see from the WhatsApp chats ,once the enforcers reach their target on a Sunday,they are free to go home,irrespective of the contracted hours … wonder if WBC agreed to that ? How ,less than 5 weeks later , were they awarded a new contract for 3 years with a 3 year extension option?
As we know WBC have often denied that Kingdom staff are incentivised and receive bonuses for issuing FPNs as we also have copies of Wirral competency payments spreadsheets . We have to say for a company handling so much personal data there have to be serious concerns about Kingdom’s security ,given the leakiness of its own documents and communications.
Finally, Kingdom enforcers like to give people the impression they have caught an offence on camera. People need to know these recordings don’t start until Kingdom start speaking to them. Now that’s an ‘information deficit’ that you won’t find in WBC’s Wirral View…and whilst we’re discussing what does/doesn’t happen we’ll leave you with some video footage of a Kingdom operative threatening to stop someone from boarding a bus .These people have NO powers of detention , even a PCSO can only detain for a maximum of 30 minutes , Kingdom enforcers – zero minutes. Has this staff member been suspended,reprimanded or advised as to what the limits of his role are?
Or what about the Kingdom officer openly selling cigarettes on Facebook? Shouldn’t people who enforce the law for a living be equally scrupulous in their private lives? We wouldn’t like to think that someone who makes a living from taxpayers was depriving HMRC of revenue and especially when we understand they were involved in a particularly shocking example of Kingdom’s ‘zero tolerance ‘ policy’