Keeping Sutton’s Parks Clean and Safe

Sutton parks

Published Friday, 11th June 2021

The Council’s new parks enforcement officers started work in some of the borough’s open spaces this week.

Staff have already been out and about in Beddington Park, Oaks Park, Cheam Park, Rosehill Park West, Royston Park and Mellows Park. The contract has been in a ‘soft launch’ phase, but up to 10 littering and 33 parking offence fines would have been issued on the first day of operation.

From next Monday (14 June) enforcement officers will issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to anyone failing to pick up their dog’s mess or dropping litter. Later this month, officers will begin enforcement for any inappropriate parking. 

With increased use of the borough’s parks over the past year, parking issues, such as safe access being blocked due to inappropriate parking, vehicles parking on the grass or parking overnight, have become more common. 

Littering in parks has increased significantly with many visitors leaving food, wrappers, bottles and cans behind. This not only puts wildlife at risk, but also encourages vermin and spoils the borough’s parks for other visitors. It places an increasing burden on parks staff and volunteers who help to keep Sutton’s parks tidy.

Other recent issues include the use of football pitches without booking and payment, flying model aircraft outside the permitted hours, dog fouling and dogs not under control.

The new contract was awarded on a cost-neutral basis to Waste Investigations Support & Enforcement (WISE) - a specialist supplier of environmental crime and parking services to councils across the UK. They have partnered with First Parking to deliver the parking enforcement part of the contract.

The 4 contract staff will be in uniform branded with both the WISE and Sutton Council logos. They will also carry and display the Enforcement Officer ID provided by the Council.

The enforcement officers are trained to operate in a robust, but always proportionate, way. They will be using a wide range of technical support, including 4G body-worn cameras, to record their interaction with the public and hand-held computers that can be used to confirm the identity of an alleged offender before issuing a penalty notice.  

Anyone observed failing to pick up after their dogs or dropping litter will be issued with an on-the-spot £150 Fixed Penalty Notice. Anyone parking their vehicles in contravention of clearly displayed signage will face a Parking Charge Notice of £100.

Councillor Manuel Abellan, Chair of the Council’s Environment & Sustainable Transport Committee said:

“Fly-tipping, littering and dog mess is a real frustration for our residents. Working with WISE, their dedicated environmental crime officers will now be out there issuing on the spot fines to those who are caught in the act or being traced back to them when items are found tipped.

“This week WISE enforcement teams have been out and about, keeping an eye on what is happening and talking to people about using parks safely and responsibly. Next week they will start issuing fines to people who drop litter or fail to pick up after their dogs. 

“We are proud of Sutton’s parks and want to ensure that they are safe, clean and enjoyable places for us all to spend time.”