£353 Cigarette butt disposal fine, Queen Street IGARETTE c

The request was partially successful.

Dear Wolverhampton City Council,
Recent news reports show that a smoker was prosecuted by Wolverhampton City Council, and punished with a fine and costs of £353, for simply discarding a single used cigarette down a street drain and subsequently refusing to accept that the crime merited any fine whatsoever.

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/... -fine/

The verdict was reached despite the alleged smoker, Ms Charlotte Harrison, not even being present in court as the Magistrates,who apparently have no legal training,were instructed by the court `legal advisor`that she was guilty of something and deserved a fine and a criminal record.

In my humble opinion this seems to be a dramatic and unjustified abuse of power on the part of the Council and the Courts, and brings them both into disrepute.

The average person does not realise how the system works and accordingly I would like to post a FOI request on this public website to understand some of the back ground to this case.

I do not accept the council excuse that "The council clears 20,000 tons of litter from the city’s streets each year, costing local taxpayers around £2 million", because this lady carefully disposed of her cigarette so that it would not appear as unsightly visible litter requiring any effort to clear up.

Even though Wolverhampton Council is in a desperate financial state it is not right to resort to bullying and extortion against a person who attempted to leave the streets tidy,with no visible litter, but still fell fowl of some obscure law designed to tackle flytipping and unscrupulous chartacters who don`t give a damn.

This FOI request is posted on a public website in the public interest because there is a lot of confusion as to what the law actually is,who is enforcing it,and why ordinary people can get criminal records if they do not accept blame for `offences`of the minutist magnitude.

The public should be aware that a criminal record will have a very serious impact on career and job prospects and will show up in future on Criminal Record Checks which may cause refusal for a visa for travelling abroad, and if the Court fine is not paid the Court will send round bailiffs to enter your home and seize your property.

It is a VERY serious matter for an ordinary person.

Under FOI I would like to post a request to know more about the draconian powers being used by Wolverhampton Council who think this was a justified and proportionate prosecution.

FOI POINT ONE.
Mrs Donna Richards prosecuted the case on behalf of the Council and Mrs Harrison was found guilty of something in her absence.
Please advise if Mrs Donna Richards is a full time prosecutor employed in the Council legal department,employed freelance, or employed from an outside, and named, agency.

FOI POINT TWO.
Please confirm the charges against the defendant for which the Magistrates found her guilty.

FOI POINT THREE.
Please confirm which section of the Environmental Protection Act was broken by disposing of the cigarette down a drain, because littering means leaving on a surface,and for convenience provide the relevant quote from the Act which applies to the crime in question.
The average member of the public, and average magistrate, may be unaware of the EPA and therefore unaware of having actually committed a crime of any sort, so this detail is required for education purposes.

FOI POINT FOUR.
The `offence`apparently happened at a location in Queen Street,Wolverhampton and I was of the opinion that,due to fire risks,cigarette butts should not be put into general waste bins.
Please confirm what smokers such as Mrs Harrison are supposed to do with their cigarette butts.
If disposal in a cigarette butt street receptical(CBSR) is appropriate please confirm where are the two nearest recepticals to the Queen street location in question.
Please confirm how these CBSR`s located and recognised by the public.

FOI POINT FIVE.
Was there any recorded evidence, by way of camera, of the alleged offence or was it hearsay evidence from the enforcement officers?
Ashley Foster issued the Fixed Penalty Notice on behalf of the Council, but please confirm how many people are currently authorised to issue FPN`s and who(named person)within the Council is responsible for delegating FPN authority.

FOI POINT SIX.
Are the enforcement officers on the council payroll directly or from an outside(named)agency, and do they have a target number of FPN`s to issue each week or month?

FOI POINT SEVEN.
Obviously the enforcement officers have training in their powers and duties, but please confirm who provides the training and if the training has any form of recognised accreditation.
Please confirm what these officers are trained to do if an accused person refuses to give their names and addresses.
Please confirm what these officers are trained to do if an accused person does not apparently speak English.
Please confirm what these officers are trained to do if the accused person says that they are homeless or of no fixed address.

Please provide complete responses on this whatdotheyknow.com website within the statutory 20 days.

Although I am a non-smoker myself I do not agree to them being bullied and victimised when they contribute to the local economy and really deserve more support.

Yours faithfully,

Dennis Fallon

Dear Wolverhampton City Council,
To restate the link to the Express and Star Article,

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/...

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Dear Wolverhampton City Council,

Please confirm receipt of this FOI and the anticipated completion date.

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Dear Wolverhampton City Council,

Your customer service seems to be dreadful.
This is a high quality public communications website and there is little doubt that you have received my request but you have failed to provide the curtosy of an acknowlegement.

For your information the website auto calculates the reply date as 21st November, and I look forward to completion.

It is a matter of public interest because,on first impression,Wolverhampton Council in conjunction with the Magistrates,appear to be behaving in a nasty and socially repugnant manner.

The Magistrates are not merely puppets enforcing the system, surely, so I would like to know what is going on.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Dear Wolverhampton City Council,

I note that Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and prosperity, is trying to encorage visitors by giving temporary free parking,QUOTE,“We are thrilled to be able to give an extra helping hand for visitors to our city centre this Christmas.
http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/...

It would be helpful,when you have completed the FOI request,to confirm which Councillor is in charge of enforcement of penalties for very minor littering offences.

Someone must be accountable for the severe penalties risked when visiting Wolverhampton.

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Dear Wolverhampton City Council
I appreciate that the FOI should be completed tomorrow,despite the lack of any acknowledgement.
I have tested the weblink to the story, which seems to be incomplete, but the story is easily found by googling `CHARLOTTE HARRISON CIGARETTE`.
I hope this is helpful to anyone viewing this website.

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Dear Wolverhampton City Council,
It is in the public interest to know why the Courts are giving people criminal records on the hearsay of Wolverhampton Council Officials.
I posted my request in good faith but it has been ignored.

Please complete an internal review in the normal manner, that is to confirm whether replies have met the legal requirements, and then please ensure my FOI is dealt with.

I am concerned that anyone visiting Wolverhampton must be aware that `officials` are on patrol and will pounce on them if any small item is disposed of in the `wrong`way.
This would be a factor to take into account on any shopping visit, as even a £60 fine is extortionate.

Thanking you in anticipation of the internal review.

dennis fallon

Liz Johnson, Wolverhampton City Council

Dear Mr Fallon

 

Freedom of Information request – Ref: OCE101267

 

I am writing to advise you that Wolverhampton City Council is still
processing your Freedom of Information request.  Unfortunately, your
request has taken longer than the 20 working days stated under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000.

 

Please accept my sincere apologies in the delay and any inconvenience this
may have caused you.

 

I will endeavour to get the information to you as soon as possible.

 

If you have any queries in relation to this email, please do not hesitate
to contact me on the telephone number below.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Liz Johnson

Customer Relations Team

Office of the Chief Executive

Wolverhampton City Council

01902 550363

 

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Dear Liz Johnson,
Thank you for long overdue intermediate reply to my request.
I am only asking these questions in the public interest because,on first impression,the Council and the Courts are nasty bullies and there must be more to this case than meets the eye.
You must appreciate that there is public confusion, especially as I notice that the Wolverhampton Christmas lights were heralded with a fireworks display from the roof of Beatties which involved firing off lots of rockets which, naturally,fall to ground all over the place with their sticks and plastic cases.
It seems that the Council apparently can litter without fear of prosecution but the public are being followed around by `officials`in case they make a minor error.

http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/leisure_...

The public need advice as to how the `system`works, and I would appreciate completion of this overdue request.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear Liz Johnson,
I am sorry to bother you but it is a legal requirement to provide a reply within a given timeframe, which has already been exceeded.

I am very patient but I require an update regarding the reason for the delay and also the anticipated time for completion.

It is a very serious matter when Wolverhampton Council appear to be bullying and vindictively prosecuting people who are trying to behave responsibly.

It causes me great concern that someone employed by the Council may be very maliciously abusing their powers.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

Dear Mr Fallon,

 

Freedom of Information request

 

Thank you for your request for information which we received on 25 October
2012. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in providing a
response to you.

 

Please find our response to each point of your request below, marked in
blue:

 

     Recent news reports show that a smoker was prosecuted by

     Wolverhampton City Council, and punished with a fine and costs of

     £353, for simply discarding a single used cigarette down a street

     drain and subsequently refusing to accept that the crime merited

     any fine whatsoever.

 

FOI POINT ONE.

Mrs Donna Richards prosecuted the case on behalf of the Council and Mrs
Harrison was found guilty of something in her absence. Please advise if
Mrs Donna Richards is a full time prosecutor employed in the Council legal
department, employed freelance, or employed from an outside, and named,
agency.

Mrs Richards is a full time employee of Wolverhampton City Council.

 

FOI POINT TWO.

Please confirm the charges against the defendant for which the Magistrates
found her guilty.

Mrs Charlotte Harrison was found guilty of fly tipping under Section 87 of
the Environmental Act 1990.

 

FOI POINT THREE.

Please confirm which section of the Environmental Protection Act was
broken by disposing of the cigarette down a drain, because littering means
leaving on a surface, and for convenience provide the relevant quote from
the Act which applies to the crime in question. The average member of the
public, and average magistrate, may be unaware of the EPA and therefore
unaware of having actually committed a crime of any sort, so this detail
is required for education purposes.

Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) states: A person is
guilty of an offence if he throws down, drops or otherwise deposits any
litter in any place to which this section applies and leaves it. This
section applies to ANY place in the area of a principal litter authority
which is open to the air,  and it is immaterial for the purpose of this
whether the litter is deposited on land or in water. Further, lakes,
ponds, watercourses and public sewers are all considered within the
offence. Additionally, a cigarette is specifically recognised as litter
(along with chewing gum) under Section 98 of the EPA.

 

FOI POINT FOUR.

The `offence` apparently happened at a location in Queen Street,
Wolverhampton and I was of the opinion that, due to fire risks, cigarette
butts should not be put into general waste bins.  Please confirm what
smokers such as Mrs Harrison are supposed to do with their cigarette
butts. If disposal in a cigarette butt street receptical (CBSR) is
appropriate please confirm where are the two nearest recepticals to the
Queen street location in question. Please confirm how these CBSR`s located
and recognised by the public.

Cigarette butts should either be disposed of in a bin or cigarette butt
receptacle, or taken away by the smoker for appropriate disposal in a bin
elsewhere. Butts should be fully extinguished before being deposited in a
bin.

 

Wolverhampton City Council own five litter bins along Queen Street, each
with an ashtray on top of the bin.

Other cigarette butt receptacles are situated on the wall outside clubs,
bars and restaurants in and around Queen Street.

 

FOI POINT FIVE.

Was there any recorded evidence, by way of camera, of the alleged offence
or was it hearsay evidence from the enforcement officers? Ashley Foster
issued the Fixed Penalty Notice on behalf of the Council, but please
confirm how many people are currently authorised to issue FPN`s and
who(named person)within the Council is responsible for delegating FPN
authority.

The offence was witnessed directly by two fully authorised officers. Each
provided witness statements in accordance with the Criminal Justice Act
1967. Such statements are not defined as hearsay evidence.

 

All officers within Environmental Health (Public Protection) and
Environmental Health (Commercial) within Wolverhampton City Council are
authorised to issue fixed penalty notices under the EPA 1990. In practice,
this is overseen by three managers.

 

Authorisation is in accordance with the Council’s Constitution, a copy of
which can be viewed at:
[1]http://wolverhampton.cmis.uk.com/decisio...

 

FOI POINT SIX.

Are the enforcement officers on the council payroll directly or from an
outside(named)agency, and do they have a target number of FPN`s to issue
each week or month?

All enforcement officers are employees of Wolverhampton City Council. The
Council does not set targets in relation to the issue of FPNs.

 

FOI POINT SEVEN.

Obviously the enforcement officers have training in their powers and
duties, but please confirm who provides the training and if the training
has any form of recognised accreditation. Please confirm what these
officers are trained to do if an accused person refuses to give their
names and addresses. Please confirm what these officers are trained to do
if an accused person does not apparently speak English. Please confirm
what these officers are trained to do if the accused person says that they
are homeless or of no fixed address.

Individual officers have accessed a range of training from formal degrees,
bespoke accredited training, bespoke training, external and in-house
training. The Council does not hold recorded information in relation to
all accredited training accessed by individual officers or to training
providers.

 

In the case of someone refusing to give details - under the EPA if a
person provides false information or refuses to provide information then
this itself is an offence. The officer would still continue their
investigation and use various other means to identify the offender.
Individuals can be arrested if they continue to refuse to give their
details.

 

If the accused person does not speak English – the Council has access to
translator services and officers who speak other languages.

 

If the accused is homeless or no fixed abode – the officer would still
continue their investigation and  use various other means to continue.

 

In your email of 14 November you asked:

 

It would be helpful, when you have completed the FOI request, to confirm
which Councillor is in charge of enforcement of penalties for very minor
littering offences. Someone must be accountable for the severe penalties
risked when visiting Wolverhampton.

Councillor John Reynolds

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
please write to:

 

FOI & Data Protection Coordinator

Wolverhampton City Council

Civic Centre, St Peter’s Square

Wolverhampton

WV1 1SH

[2][Wolverhampton City Council request email]

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
Information Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted
the complaints procedure provided by the council. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at:

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Liz Johnson

Customer Relations Team

Office of the Chief Executive

Wolverhampton City Council

01902 550363

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://wolverhampton.cmis.uk.com/decisio...
2. mailto:[Wolverhampton City Council request email]

Dear Ms Johnson,

Thank you for your late response to my FOI request but,unfortunately,the content of the reply is,in my opinion,unsatisfactory as it has failed to address some of the information requested and also contains information that may be considered misleading or unreliable.

I now require the response to my reqest to be dealt with by your internal review procedure to investigate the discrepancies,including the delay to the request.

REGARDING Q1.
I requested knowing if Mrs Donna Richards,acting in Court on behalf of the Council, was a full time prosecutor employed in the Council legal
department,etc,etc.
The response,quote,"Mrs Richards is a full time employee of Wolverhampton City Council"has deliberately failed to address the question as to whether she is employed by the legal department, and therefore presumeably has any legal qualifications.
Please advise if it is acceptable to avoid answering the original question, and now confirm if Mrs Richards is legally qualified in any way.

REGARDING FOI Q2.
The reply,quote "Mrs Charlotte Harrison was found guilty of fly tipping under Section 87 of
the Environmental Act 1990"cannot be accurate.

She cannot have been found guilty of fly tipping as this offence is contained within Part 2 of the EPA 1990,Schedule 33(not 33a or s87)(Waste on land),Prohibition on unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal etc. of waste,and relates to the inappropriate disposal of primarilary commercial waste.

Commonsense indicates that `fly tipping`is a large scale offence so only foolish Magistrates would consider that this would apply to a single cigarette.

Section 87 is a seperate offence, within EPA 1990 Part 4,and is the offence of leaving litter.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/qual...

Please review the case notes again and tell me the truth, was she found guilty of littering under section 87 or guilty under fly tipping under section 33.
The difference between the offences is legally significant as fly tipping is technically far more serious.

REGARDING FOI Q3.
The reply still refers to section 87, littering not fly tipping,and although section 87 in Scottish Law specifies `leaving visible litter`the English version is much more ambigious(although a commonsensical Magistate should appreciate the significance).
Please confirm if the charge was fly tipping as opposed to littering.

REGARDING FOI Q4.
I requested precise figures for the number of cigarette disposal points along Queen Street but the response was vague and did not differentiate between Queen Street and Queen Street(pedestrianised).
I presume the figures were for the entirity of both parts but, according to the images on Google street view,Oct 2009,the bins have no ashtrays on top and are widely spaced, and there are no obvious wall mounted ash trays.
These images are obviously out of date,quote"Wolverhampton City Council own five litter bins along Queen Street, each
with an ashtray on top of the bin".
Discounting the bins at the street ends, please confirm how many bins are `along`Queen Street, differentiating between the pedestrianised and non pedestrianised parts, and confirm how many private premises along Queen Street have wall mounted ashtrays.

REGARDING FOI Q5.
The answer to this question is a disgrace as it is totally evasive.
I asked confirm HOW MANY people are currently authorised to issue FPN`s and who(named person)within the Council is responsible for delegating FPN
authority.
It is not acceptable to avoid the question and provide a link to a duff council website.
These `officials`obviously only exert their`powers` by the authority delegated by ONE senior Council person and I would like to know who is the ONE Council person who has given them signed `authority`.
I don`t really care that they are overseen by three managers, although this does indicate redundancy opportunities.

REGARDING FOI Q6.
You confirm,quote,"All enforcement officers are employees of Wolverhampton City Council. The
Council does not set targets in relation to the issue of FPNs".
Presumeably this is true, but since fines are being issued for the most trivial of offences please confirm how many of the Council`s enforcement officers are ex-Police or ex-military, with the obvious attitude and dedication to `duty`.
Also,as apparently the FPN`s are not target driven,please confirm the number of FPN`s issued by the Council`s street wardens on a monthly basis during the last 12 months, relating seperately to littering or fly tipping.

REGARDING FOI Q7.
The response to this question needs to be independently reviewed because, in my opinion,it does not adress the question clearly.
I enquired about the training for the job but cannot imagine how a formal degree in anything would be relevant,and amazingly the council does not know about the training or hold any records.
There are vague comments about arresting people,although they may have no such powers,and accessing
translator services and officers who speak other languages, which stretches credibility to the limits.
Please confirm if these street wardens have powers of arrest and if they carry mobile phones or similar equipment for the purposes of contacting the police or translator services.

I am sorry to have to question virtually every aspect of Wolverhampton Council`s reply but it is very much in the public interest to know why these draconian powers are being used to punish the public even when they are trying to be tidy.

Finally please confirm if Councillor John Reynolds still really has responsibility for these enforcements as according to the council website he ceased membership of Waste and Street Scene Partnership Management Board and the Midlands Joint Advisory Council for Environmental Protection in May 2011,and ceased Environmental Protection UK in May 2012.
He seems to have no association with any relevant body at the moment so I do not see how he is accountable.

I appreciate that FOI legislation applies to information held but I also appreciate that Councils have the duty to treat requests as general information in good faith.

Thanking you in anticipation of the internal review within the normal legal timescale.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear FOI,
Quote from your response of 4th December,
"Thank you for your request for information which we received on 25 October 2012. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in providing a response to you".

I have very little option other than to accept your apology, but really it is NOT good enough,in terms of legality or transparency.

I perceive an abuse of power,involving dodgy officials manipulating nieve magistratesa which is contrary to justice, and you assure me that it is not a target driven culture.

You have not only failed to acknowledge my request for an internal review,requested on 4th December but, even allowing for the party times over Christmas and New Year,you have failed to provide the actual result,if any,of the independent review.

I am very annoyed because you have been wasting my time on a matter of public interest, and there still seems to be unresolved question marks about the integrity of both the Council and the Courts.

I feel very sorry for Charlotte Harrison,the victim of your system who now has a criminal record,and I request urgent satisfactory completion of my appeal request so that I may not have to consider approaching the Information Commissioner or Central Government.

At the very least,as a holding measure,please confirm WHO is dealing with my request for a review and why it is being delayed.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear FOI,
I appreciate that for obvious reasons you have trimmed your top heavy overpaid management structure but,non the less,you still have a legal duty to respond to my request for review.

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/...

The review is overdue and I need to know why the Council are giving criminal records to people who are doing their best to be law abiding.

It seems to be a form of official terrorist activity which should be totally forbidden even if the Council budget is out of control.

Thanking you in anticipation.
Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear FOI,

I note that the ultimate responsibility for intimidating the people of Wolverhampton into accepting fines for trivial or non-existant `offences` is the Labour Leader of Wolverhampton City Council and Chair of the Cabinet, namely Cllr Roger Lawrence.

Ironically I also note that his responsibilities include:
• Public Relations
• Community Planning and Engagement
• Corporate Policy and Strategy.

My FOI request has taken far too long to complete and as I am really concerned about the possible misuse of authority I would appreciate progress to conclusion.

I feel very sorry for the victims of your activities, and the actions need to be called to account, and information provided now.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear FOI,

I feel strongly that Local Authorities and Councillors should be responsible for their actions, and that Ms Charlotte Harrison has been victim to a corrupt prosecution system.

Obviously the `system`is not corrupt so I require explantion to see how I have arrived at the false conclusion I have reached.

The FOI department of Wolverhampton Council is RESPONSIBLE for releasing information to explain how the Council operate in tackling `offenders`,and Cllr Roger Lawrence is RESPONSIBLE for Public Relations.

It is not acceptable that responsible people are not acting responsibly.

I really need to know if Wolverhampton Council were justified in giving Charlotte Harrison a criminal record or whether the Council were acting inappropriately.

I am trying very hard not to be vexatious but I do require a response to correct my false impressions.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear FOI,

I have waited a reasonable time for a response to my review request but it has not yet been completed.

Please advise me WHO is dealing with my request and anticipated time for completion.

It is a matter of public interest and should be treated as a serious requirement

Wolverhampton Council must be seen to be operating legally and lawfully.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

Dear Mr Fallon

 

I refer to your email dated 4 December 2012 requesting an internal review
for the response sent to you in relation to Freedom of Information Request
OCE101267.

 

Please be advised that your email has been passed to a Freedom of
Information Coordinator, who will investigate and respond to you within 20
working days. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in
responding to your internal review.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Liz Johnson

Customer Relations Team

Office of the Chief Executive

Wolverhampton City Council

01902 550363

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/energysw...

Dear Ms Johnson,
I have posted this request on a public website to provide a record and demonstrate transparency in the information process.
I have gone to a lot of trouble following up this enquiry because I cannot believe that Wolverhampton Council, despite their financial pressures, can follow a process which destroys a person`s character, by giving them a Criminal Record, when ordinary Citizens, such as myself, consider that the woman was trying her best not to cause unsightly litter.

The woman was NOT a public enemy tipping toxic waste yet the Council decided to use full force to destroy her reputation, and I consider the Council`s actions to be very close to Evil.

Please do not rush the response now that someone with integrity may be on the case, 20 days will be quite satisfactory to explain if the Council have been treating their taxpayers with fairness and respect, or the complete opposite.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear Ms Johnson,
The `service` provided by Wolverhampton Council seems to be substandard, and the people employed seem to be either incompetent or dishonest and that includes especially the Legal Department.

I am sorry to be so annoyed at the proven failure of your `service` but it is, in fact, a controlled annoyance as I have waited patiently for your response.

I know that it may be difficult to face up to the reality that your `enforcement thugs` roam the streets of Wolverhampton and your `legal thugs`manipulate the Magistrates BUT it is an `arrangement` I find to be totally unacceptable and I cannot understand why you have organised and allowed such a set-up.

The poor woman has a CRIMINAL RECORD for doing nothing really wrong, does anyone in Wolverhampton Council understand this??

What makes me even more furious is that a SERIOUS FLYTIPPER(ironically transporting prison waste) was only punished a little bit more for tipping a lorry load of waste in a country lane and only traced after detailed research compared to Wolverhampton Officers simply trailing people back to their place of work.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...

Wolverhampton `enforcement officers`and their `legal services` appear, in my opinion, to be corrupt and unprofessional target driven individuals and I would appreciate completion of my overdue request.

I have been very patient and would appreciate completion or an explanation for the unacceptable delay.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

Dear Mr Fallon,
Internal review for Freedom of Information request

I apologise for the delay in responding to your request. You have requested an internal review in relation to the numbered requests outlined below which are made under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

In conducting the review, I have had no previous dealings with this matter and my remit is to consider the original request and the response provided by my colleague Mrs Johnson in her email of 4 December 2012. In doing so, I will consider if the original request was adequately dealt with, if you were provided with all of the relevant information requested (if applicable) and if any information was withheld, whether the exemptions cited were reasonable in the circumstances.

• REGARDING Q1.
I requested knowing if Mrs Donna Richards,acting in Court on behalf of the Council, was a full time prosecutor employed in the Council legal department,etc,etc. The response,quote,"Mrs Richards is a full time employee of Wolverhampton City Council" has deliberately failed to address the question as to whether she is employed by the legal department, and therefore presumeably has any legal qualifications.Please advise if it is acceptable to avoid answering the original question, and now confirm if Mrs Richards is legally qualified in any way.

Mrs Johnson did provide you with the information which you were entitled to under the Freedom of Information request. I can confirm that the Council holds information falling within the description specified in your request. However, the information you requested is being withheld with reference to section 40(2) (Personal data). The Council considers that this is personal data and that disclosure of such information would be unfair processing and would therefore be in breach of the first data protection principle.
Section 40(2) together with the condition in section 40(3)(a)(i) or 40(3)(b) provides an absolute exemption if disclosure of the personal data would breach any of the data protection principles

• REGARDING FOI Q2.
The reply,quote "Mrs Charlotte Harrison was found guilty of fly tipping under Section 87 of the Environmental Act 1990"cannot be accurate.
She cannot have been found guilty of fly tipping as this offence is contained within Part 2 of the EPA 1990,Schedule 33(not 33a or s87)(Waste on land),Prohibition on unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal etc. of waste, and relates to the inappropriate disposal of primarilary commercial waste.
Commonsense indicates that `fly tipping`is a large scale offence so only foolish Magistrates would consider that this would apply to a single cigarette.
Section 87 is a seperate offence, within EPA 1990 Part 4,and is the offence of leaving litter.http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/qual...
Please review the case notes again and tell me the truth, was she found guilty of littering under section 87 or guilty under fly tipping under section 33. The difference between the offences is legally significant as fly tipping is technically far more serious.

I apologise that you were given incorrect information; however Mrs Charlotte Harrison was found guilty under section 87 of the EPA 1990- the offence of leaving litter and not fly-tipping.

• REGARDING FOI Q3.
The reply still refers to section 87, littering not fly tipping,and although section 87 in Scottish Law specifies `leaving visible litter`the English version is much more ambigious(although a commonsensical Magistate should appreciate the significance).Please confirm if the charge was fly tipping as opposed to littering.

Mrs Charlotte Harrison was found guilty under section 87 of the EPA 1990- the offence of leaving litter and not fly-tipping.


• REGARDING FOI Q4.
I requested precise figures for the number of cigarette disposal points along Queen Street but the response was vague and did not differentiate between Queen Street and Queen Street(pedestrianised).
I presume the figures were for the entirity of both parts but, according to the images on Google street view,Oct 2009,the bins have no ashtrays on top and are widely spaced, and there are no obvious wall mounted ash trays.
These images are obviously out of date,quote"Wolverhampton City Council own five litter bins along Queen Street, each with an ashtray on top of the bin".

Discounting the bins at the street ends, please confirm how many bins are `along`Queen Street, differentiating between the pedestrianised and non pedestrianised parts, and confirm how many private premises along Queen Street have wall mounted ashtrays.

I can confirm the following; Queen Street has 10 litter bins and also has 3 free standing cigarette bins. The pedestrian area has 2 litter bins complete with stubber plate and ash tray and also have 3 post mounted cigarette bins.


• REGARDING FOI Q5.
The answer to this question is a disgrace as it is totally evasive.

I asked confirm HOW MANY people are currently authorised to issue FPN`s and who(named person)within the Council is responsible for delegating FPN authority.
It is not acceptable to avoid the question and provide a link to a duff council website.
These `officials`obviously only exert their`powers` by the authority delegated by ONE senior Council person and I would like to know who is the ONE Council person who has given them signed `authority`.
I don`t really care that they are overseen by three managers, although this does indicate redundancy opportunities. –

Wolverhampton Council currently has three employees who can issue FPN’s.
Authorising of FPN’s is delegated from the Council and is in the Constitution (Environmental Protection Act 1990 powers delegated to the Strategic Director for Education and Enterprise.)

• REGARDING FOI Q6.
You confirm,quote,"All enforcement officers are employees of Wolverhampton City Council. The Council does not set targets in relation to the issue of FPNs". Presumeably this is true, but since fines are being issued for the most trivial of offences please confirm how many of the Council`s enforcement officers are ex-Police or ex-military, with the obvious attitude and dedication to `duty`.
Also,as apparently the FPN`s are not target driven,please confirm the number of FPN`s issued by the Council`s street wardens on a monthly basis during the last 12 months, relating seperately to littering or fly tipping.

You have requested that the council to confirms ‘how many of the Council`s enforcement officers are ex-Police or ex-military, with the obvious attitude and dedication to `duty’’
The Council is not able to confirm or deny whether we hold the information that you have requested. This is because we consider that confirming whether or not we hold this information would breach the first data protection principle of the Data Protection Act 1998. Our view is that section 40 (5)(b)(i) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to your request so the Council’s usual duty to confirm or deny whether it holds information requested does not arise in this case.

As explained in response to question 5, we currently have three staff members who can issue FPN’s hence the street wardens do not issue FPN’s, the answer is 0.

• REGARDING FOI Q7.
The response to this question needs to be independently reviewed because, in my opinion,it does not adress the question clearly. I enquired about the training for the job but cannot imagine how a formal degree in anything would be relevant,and amazingly the council does not know about the training or hold any records.
There are vague comments about arresting people,although they may have no such powers,and accessing translator services and officers who speak other languages, which stretches credibility to the limits.
Please confirm if these street wardens have powers of arrest and if they carry mobile phones or similar equipment for the purposes of contacting the police or translator services.

You have requested information about training qualification; I can confirm that the Council holds information falling within the description specified in your request. However, the information you requested is being withheld with reference to section 40(2) (Personal data). The Council considers that this is personal data and that disclosure of such information would be unfair processing and would therefore be in breach of the first data protection principle.
Section 40(2) together with the condition in section 40(3)(a)(i) or 40(3)(b) provides an absolute exemption if disclosure of the personal data would breach any of the data protection principles.

Also in addition to this I can confirm that all officers have been assessed as competent and authorised in their specific piece of legislation which is Environmental Protection Act 1990.

As mentioned in my previous response street wardens are not part of the FPN process.

• I am sorry to have to question virtually every aspect of Wolverhampton Council`s reply but it is very much in the public interest to know why these draconian powers are being used to punish the public even when they are trying to be tidy.

FPN is a provision in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 legislation to allow a person to discharge their liability for the offence. If an individual believes they did not commit the offence they should put the reasons and evidence for this in writing to the Service Manager – Environmental Health if their appeal is upheld the person must either pay the fine within the given time frame or can always continue to court, enter their plea and go through the correct judicial process to determine guilt or otherwise. This is the right of all individuals.

• Finally please confirm if Councillor John Reynolds still really has responsibility for these enforcements as according to the council website he ceased membership of Waste and Street Scene Partnership Management Board and the Midlands Joint Advisory Council for Environmental Protection in May 2011,and ceased Environmental Protection UK in May 2012.
He seems to have no association with any relevant body at the moment so I do not see how he is accountable.

Councillor John Reynolds is a member of the council. He is also Cabinet member for City services as well as the portfolio holder for Regulatory services. It is not required for a councillor to be associated with body in order for them to carry out duties within the council, i.e. Councillor John Reynolds can join a body regulation for his own knowledge.
Councillor John Reynolds is not accountable directly for any FPN’s which are issued, Wolverhampton council will be held accountable for issuing FPN’s.

If you are not content with the way in which this internal review has been conducted you may refer your concern to the Information Commissioners Office, who may be contacted at:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

If you prefer, further advice can be obtained by telephoning the Information Commissioner's Office on 0303 123 1113

Yours sincerely,

Sonika Kumar

Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer

Office of the Chief Executive

Wolverhampton City Council

01902 554409

show quoted sections

Andrew Law left an annotation ()

Thank you Dennis for your persiverence, I was accused of a similar "crime" a few days ago and refused to talk to the Enviromental "officer" or weasel, as I call him, he followed me for 10 minutes even though I told him to go away and he called the Police who assured me that they would arrest me for not giving my personal details.
I understood that as I had been accused of a "crime" that he had every intent to arrest me and I may have been held for 24 hours, this did not fit in with my plans,
The weasel got my details then proceded to inform me of my rights.. you have the right to remain... bla bla. I told him he had no authority to do that and I would not be accepting his bill for £50 as I had given my details under duress, he said he would post it to me and I said I do not want or accept his bill .

dennis fallon left an annotation ()

Andrew,it is our Civic Duty to warn ALL our fellow citizens and friends about these tactics being used by our Local Council Officials who basically have screwed up finances and now try any scam to protect their excessive pay and pensions. The ordinary people need to be aware so they can appreciate the risks of undercover surveillance at all times.Their scam only works because they FRIGHTEN people into paying up, by using legal threats and Puppet Magistrates ( who should be ashamed of themselves), and the system would break down if people failed to comply easily.They tell the Puppet Magistrates that your `crime`is comparable to fly tipping a load of rubbish ( but they cannot fine the caravaners because they have NFA), so they AUTOMATICALLY give you a big fine without really thinking .Once they have got your correct address you will get NO justice in Court, the system is bent and if you have a fixed address they will happily send out Bailiffs.SORRY, but at this stage I recommend you just pay up,BUT tell everyone about the scam to warn them.You should have no shame, the second mistake you made was in not just RUNNING away because they only pick on `soft`targets, they are rying to justify their existance and salaries whilst the real rubbish tippers are difficult to prosecute and operate at night.You will never get a fair trial from a Puppet Magistrate.BTW, seriously, any smoker should convert to the electronic cigarette, MUCH cheaper than smoking, better for health, and less tax for the Government to screw from you over your lifetime.SERIOUSLY, do the calculation and convert your friends as well. Best wishes for the future.

ruspj left an annotation ()

i was issued with one of these ticket a few months back.
Rather than paying i contacted the office and was told that they have survailance footage of the incident as the enforcement officers carry BWV Body Worn Video within their uniforms to film the incident.
After pointing out the legal requirement under the data protection act that i need to made aware that the survailance is taking place i havent heard from them in a few months, and suspect that they will not be taking any action.
i was told that their policy is for the enforcement oficers to inform people verbally that they have filmed the incident (which i suspect never happens).
i was never told that i was being filmed, and even if i had any footage taken of the incident (before i was informed) would have been filmed ilegally as i hadnt been made aware at the time.

after looking a little further into the use of covert survailance it apears that it is covered under the RIPA regulations (regulation of investigatory powers act) and 1. needs autherisation from a certain high upofficial in the council on a case by case basis before the survailance operation can begin. and 2. there is a clear more serious dog fouling example described in the home office guidelines of what would be disproportional use of covert directed survailance.

i hope this helps any others confronted by these criminals ilegally carying out covert survailance.

dennis fallon left an annotation ()

Please TELL all your friends how these CRIMINALS operate using threats and puppet Magistrates to punish people.The Law is run by corrupt people and ordinary people are their bread and butter.Similar Council Criminals operate UNJUSTIFIED Bus Lane Cameras,they are often retired Police Officers or wannabe coppers with mental attitude and targets to meet, who get a sexual thrill out of bullying people,and have no real friends only colleagues.NEVER say too much when dealing with them because,like the Police Station with the stolen toilet,they have nothing to really go on.

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