Lambeth’s parking wardens are to be renamed as community enforcement officers and receive special training to continue the council’s struggle to clean up the borough.
Uniformed enforcement officers employed by NSL Ltd have since March this year had the power fine people up to £80 on the spot for offences like public urination.
The council issued nearly 3,000 penalty notices last year. More than half were for littering, 500 were for illegal waste dumping. There were 142 for unlicensed street trading, but only nine for urination and five for spitting.
At a recent meeting of the Brixton Neighbourhood Forum, people affected by street urination, in particular, accused the council of not doing enough to tackle the problem.
Under a new council contract, APCOA parking, part of a Germany-based group, will take over responsibility for enforcement and provide extra training for the renamed enforcement officers. The company said they would also “engage with businesses and residents” to monitor local concerns
Cllr Jennifer Braithwaite, council cabinet member for environment and sustainability, said: “Managing our streets goes beyond just ticketing illegally parked cars.
“We are taking this opportunity to get on top of a whole range of environmental issues that residents have told us they are concerned about.
“It may not be the biggest issue in the world but we believe littering and fouling our streets is totally unacceptable behaviour which is why we are looking at this new way of getting on top of the problem.”
The £27 million contract is to start on 14 November. Planned to run for eight years, it will reviewed after four years. APCOA will take on 96 existing staff.
The contract will also cover operating a car pound, vehicle removals and operating Lambeth’s CCTV control room for parking services.
APCOA said the partnership with the council would “reposition” enforcement officers to focus on education and prevention and to work with the community in a “more co-operative” way.