A London borough is using uniformed officials wearing body cameras in a year-long pilot litter enforcement scheme.
A team of six, working for contractor NSL, which was appointed by Wandsworth Council last year, carries out patrols and can hand offenders £80 fixed penalty notices.
They will not be required to give out a pre-ordained number of fines or be working under a bonus system. But the council expects them to help recover some of its annual £4m bill for environmental maintenance.
As well as employing more inspectors, the council is also using portable CCTV cameras at various hotspots to gather evidence for prosecutions.
The new squad is in addition to Wandsworth’s in-house team, which last year issued more than 1,000 fines for fly-tipping and littering.
Staff are also targeting businesses that dump their waste on street corners in preference to signing a commercial contract with a waste removal company.
Environment spokesman Jonathan Cook said: “The vast majority of residents take great pride in their local communities, but we want to send out a really strong message to the irresponsible and inconsiderate minority that think they can get away with spoiling our borough.
“I’m confident that NSL will deliver a programme that will not only provide an effective deterrent but also encourage offenders to recognise and address the error of their ways.”
NSL delivers all enforcement services for the borough, as well as management of fixed and mobile CCTV resources.
Phil Pughe, NSL’s neighbourhoods account director, said: “Littering blights many busy and densely populated urban areas, and the vast majority of responsible residents and local businesses are fully supportive of any programme that will address the problem and keep their local areas clean and safe.
“Our experience in helping to reduce the incidence of littering and encouraging behavioural change among habitual offenders has delivered very positive outcomes for other authorities, and we’re delighted to be applying this experience now in Wandsworth.”