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UK Kids Enlisted To Report Enviro-Crimes

We might laugh about such goings on in England, and tell ourselves it can’t happen here. But we have made that mistake before.

From the UK’s Telegraph:

Children aged eight enlisted as council snoopers

Children as young as eight have been recruited by councils to “snoop” on their neighbours and report petty offences such as littering, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

By Martin Beckford, Sarah Graham and Betsy Mead
06 Sep 2008

The youngsters are among almost 5,000 residents who in some cases are being offered £500 rewards if they provide evidence of minor infractions.

One in six councils contacted by the Telegraph said they had signed up teams of “environment volunteers” who are being encouraged to photograph or video neighbours guilty of dog fouling, littering or “bin crimes”.

The “covert human intelligence sources”, as some local authorities describe them, are also being asked to pass on the names of neighbours they believe to be responsible, or take down their number-plates.

Ealing Council in West London said: “There are hundreds of Junior Streetwatchers, aged 8-10 years old, who are trained to identify and report enviro-crime issues such as graffiti and fly-tipping.”

Harlow Council in Essex said: “We currently have 25 Street Scene Champions who work with the council. They are all aged between 11 to 14. They are encouraged to report the aftermath of enviro-crimes such as vandalism to bus shelters, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, fly-tipping etc. They do this via telephone or email direct to the council.”

Other local authorities recruit adult volunteers through advertisements in local newspapers, with at least 4,841 people already patrolling the streets in their spare time.

Some are assigned James Bond-style code numbers, which they use instead of their real names when they ring a special informer’s hotline

The increase in surveillance comes at a time when an estimated 169 councils have dropped weekly rubbish collections.

Some local authorities are refusing to collect bins which are placed too far from the kerb, while others are issuing £100 fines to people who fail to comply with recycling rules

The Daily Telegraph contacted more than 240 councils across England and Wales to ask if they had recruited environmental volunteers.

Of those, 36 or just under one in six, said they had. They included Luton, with 600 volunteers, the highest of any council; Southwark, south London (400) Birmingham (370) Blaenau Gwent (300) and Congleton in Cheshire (300).

Among the “environmental crimes” which the snoopers are asked to report, which vary from council to council, are failure to recycle rubbish, vandalism, graffiti, dog fouling, fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles.

Some councils merely ask recruits to keep an eye out for problems, while others are sent out on patrols. Several of the councils which do not yet use volunteers said they were considering doing so in future…

A spokesman for Harlow Council said: “We need to encourage more people to care for their community. If we can encourage people at a young age to do this then they will grow up to respect the environment…”


Fortunately, Wikipedia knows all:


Fly-tipping or dumping is a British term for illegally dumping waste somewhere other than an authorised landfill. It is the illegal deposit of any waste onto land, i.e., waste dumped or tipped on a site with no licence to accept waste.

One place to report fly tipping in the UK is FixMyStreet.com.

It would appear that this is a case of unintended consequences run amok. Anti-terrorism laws, which the left undoubtedly opposed, are being exploited for other ends.

And sure, we all want to live in cleaner neighborhoods, that are free of trash and abandoned cars.

But does anyone doubt that these cadres won’t be eventually turned on those who don’t toe the environmentalists’ line?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, September 6th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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