Council launches shaming campaign: is it fair?

Rhondda Cynon Taf council
Rhondda Cynon Taf council

Rhondda Cynon Tafcouncil has launched a hard-hitting naming and shaming campaign to identify litter louts, irresponsible dog owners and fly tippers. They are releasing body cam photos taken by council enforcement officers, of people guilty of these offences who gave a false name and address.

The 'who done it' campaign features a rogues gallery of people who have been caught failing to clean up after their dog, littering (including discarding cigarettes) and fly tipping - including the photo above. In each case the individual was fined £75, and asked for their name and address by a council officer - at which point they decided to lie - so the council has been unable to chase the cash.

They are hoping that the campaign will encourage people to identify the individuals - so they can collect the fines. In the past they have been able to track down an offender through footage and fine him a total of £710, and they are hoping the current campaign will help them collect more fines. It's also hoping the publicity will put people off committing the same sort of offences.
Is it fair?

The campaign has drawn some criticism from locals, but the council points out that dealing with these kinds of problems costs them £1 million a year, so anything they can do to put people off will save the cash-strapped council money.

Councils around the country are wrestling with these issues, which seem minor but create enormous amounts of work for officials. Rhondda Cynon Taf is not the only council to have suggested something controversial as a solution.

We reported last week on Daventry Council, which introduced rules enabling enforcement officers to fine dog walkers £100 if they couldn't prove they were carrying a dog poo bag so they were in a position to clean up after their pet. It followed a separate campaign where the council sprayed dog poo in bright colours to shock dog owners into cleaning up after their animal.

Back in June, meanwhile, there were reports that Axbridge in Somerset was considering hiring a private detective to track down irresponsible dog owners who failed to clean up - after councillors grew sick of discussing the issue without a resolution

And perhaps the most extreme example is Barking and Dagenham, which is planning to collect the DNA of all dogs in the borough at the same time they are chipped. At that point they will be able to test any poo that hasn't been cleared up, track down the culprit, and issue them with a fine.

But what do you think? Is this a menace that needs to be dealt with by any creative means possible, or are we seeing councils go too far? Let us know in the comments.

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