More community officers could be employed to patrol the streets for dog mess and litter in a bid to clean up Aldershot and Farnborough
‘Hit squads’ with the power to issue on-the-spot fines to those who drop litter, chewing gum or allow their dogs to foul on pavements could be set up in Rushmoor next year.
A motion to clean up the streets of Aldershot and Farnborough was put forward at Rushmoor Borough Council's meeting earlier this month by Councillor Keith Dibble, who called for a team to be created in time to be part of the budget for 2014/15.
Councillors backed the suggestion, and the matter will now be investigated by the council’s environment policy and review panel and be discussed at its November meeting.
If approved, members of the new team would allow more thorough and regular patrolling of areas of Aldershot and Farnborough and potentially increase the number of fixed-penalty notices of up to £300 handed out to those spotting committing offences.
The team members would be likely to be employed part-time by the council and work in shifts.
“It’s very important that Rushmoor sends a clear message to local people that it wants to work in partnership with them to clean up Aldershot and Farnborough,” said Cllr Dibble, who is a dog owner himself. “Time and time again when I speak to people, the things that come up are dog fouling and littering. A lot of people do take pride in where they live, but a minority do not.”
This summer, Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth called on his constituents to "clean up their act" and said there was no excuse for the littering that he saw in the area.
He said some people were "letting themselves down by their slovenly behaviour".
There are currently four part-time community officers employed by the council who patrol through the week and respond to concerns raised by residents. These also include illegally-parked cars, fly tipping and graffiti.
Cllr Dibble said that the demand on them due to the state of areas of Rushmoor meant an additional team was needed.
His original motion contained a separate suggestion to employ two part-time wardens to clean up areas where fouling and litter were especially bad. However, this second part of the motion was not backed by council, in favour of allowing more discussion to take place surrounding the first suggestion.
Members of the environment policy and review panel will work with the cabinet to review current working practices and staffing levels in Rushmoor and seek to make improvements where necessary in neighbourhoods.
“They will take a top-to-bottom look at how Rushmoor works today and how we can improve things,” added Cllr Dibble. “It was quite clear that the issue was more than just one of additional heads, it was to do with the whole culture of the council on this matter.
“It was a really good debate at the meeting that didn’t fall into the cross-party ping-pong match that sometimes happens in Rushmoor. The motion received cross-party support.”