Records have been set and more people than ever have been targeted for environmental crime in the year since the Corporate Enforcement Unit was expanded.
In April last year, a decision was taken to double the number of officers within the CEU, with a focus on increasing routine patrols to deter and detect environmental crime in East Ayrshire; focusing on the issues which have the greatest effect on our residents – dog fouling, littering and fly-tipping.
The CEU have worked closely with colleagues throughout the Council and partners within key organisations like Police Scotland, the Dogs Trust and Keep Scotland Beautiful to target environmental crime and provide advice with great success.
A dog chipping event held in partnership with the Dogs Trust in March this year beat the charity’s record for most dogs chipped in one session – 196 dogs from the Newmilns area were chipped in just one afternoon. The CEU utilised the interest displayed in the chipping events to carry out focused dog fouling enforcement sessions, encouraging owners to be responsible.
Over the course of the year, officers from the CEU have carried out both high-vis and covert patrols throughout East Ayrshire and have spoken to hundreds of dog walkers about their responsibilities and issued 107 fixed penalty notices to those who choose not to act responsibly; an increase of 68 fixed penalty notices from the year previous.
Another great success for the CEU has been the reduction of environmental crime at Loch Doon. In recent weeks there has been a great deal of media coverage about environmental crime at Loch Lomond; Loch Doon has experienced similar levels of crime in the past with burnt out caravans, abandoned tents and discarded rubbish blighting this area of outstanding natural beauty.
The CEU formed an enforcement task force with Police Scotland, the Ranger Service from Loch Doon and local groups involved in the area, carrying out enforcement patrols during the busy summer months. The joint patrols have led to a decline in littering and fly-tipping but most importantly peoples’ attitudes have changed and they have a greater appreciation of this beautiful area.
Councillor Tom Cook, Spokesperson for Equalities and Improving Community Safety said: “With an expanded team of four officers, the CEU now has a has bigger profile throughout East Ayrshire as they target environmental crime, including fly tipping and dog fouling. The unit has been able to respond more quickly to complaints, issuing more than double the number of Fixed Penalty Notices and highlighting issues through social media.
“They have focused their activity on key areas including fly-tipping and have had a couple of big wins recently. They successfully identified people who had been fly-tipping at Cessnock Castle and the C103 in Galston, after very detailed and complex enquiries, issuing fixed penalty notices to the perpetrators. This level of activity has only been made possible by the expanded unit, which has allowed officers to continue to carry out routine patrols while others focus on these very detailed and time consuming cases.”
Into the future, the CEU has identified an innovative new school initiative which they hope will address litter discarded by pupils in our town centres and around our schools.
Following a successful trial at Loudoun Academy, the new approach will be taken through a partnership between the Council’s Education Department, the CEU and Police Scotland. Under the new scheme, which will be launched during the next academic year, if a pupil is witnessed littering a letter will be sent home with an £80 fixed penalty notice. The fixed penalty notice will be cancelled if the pupil attends a one hour restorative litter pick which will be fully supervised by Campus Police and CEU officers.
The CEU will fully engage with schools and Parent Councils prior to the official launch of the new scheme.