Search

Whistleblower: public misled on Islington’s dog squad

PUBLISHED: 06:50 24 August 2012

The Dog Squad on the beat in Highbury Fields

The Dog Squad on the beat in Highbury Fields

Dieter Perry

»A ‘whistleblower’ has claimed the public were misled about Islington Council’s controversial dog mess crackdown – saying officers spent their time targeting smokers instead of dog fouling.

A former member of the “dog squad” made the claim as he spoke out to criticise the way NSL, the firm contracted by the council, ran the project.

The 31-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of jeopardising future employment, alleged dog squad officers spent little time on fouling. Instead they were virtually “stalking” smokers to catch them out.

He said: “It was sold to the public wrong as the dog squad. When they noticed it was not making enough money, they focused on littering tickets. They started pushing for any sort of ticket.

Pressure

“We spent our time stalking people who were smoking cigarettes. We would watch and wait for people to drop their butts, which isn’t right – and we were filming them.

“I have seen colleagues chase behind people to issue tickets, go into shops after people and take them out – you can’t do that. I felt it was not right morally.”

The dog squad was brought in to catch owners who don’t clean up after their pets. The ex-employee contacted the Gazette this week following the completion of the three-month initiative.

He says the team was increasingly put under pressure to hand out more and more tickets to recoup costs as their target quickly rose to ten fines a day.

He says he didn’t hand out a single ticket for dog fouling and branded the scheme a failure.

Cllr Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “We think this has been fantastically successful in reducing dog mess.

“We will be looking at the results in detail in due course but we have lots of positive feedback from residents.

“This has been a great project and I’m surprised anyone would put much store in anonymous claims.”

A spokesman for NSL said: “The vast majority of people our officers met welcomed their presence and the service they provided.”

Claim

Last week the Gazette revealed just 26 fines for dog fouling were issued, worth £2,080 in all, despite the council’s original claim that it was likely to recoup much of its outlay on the project – £134,000 – in fines.

The council has not responded to questions about how many littering tickets were issued.

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 16:47

The curtain could finally be raised on a forgotten 400-seat underground theatre beneath Islington Green – a decade after it was built.

Yesterday, 16:35

A popular Blackstock Road boozer was reportedly ordered to close on Wednesday because of an ongoing licensing dispute.

Yesterday, 08:50

City and Islington College (CANDI) students are “over the moon” after bagging places at some of the “world’s best universities” on an emotional A-level results day.

Thu, 18:25

Crew members at Islington Fire Station raised £316 for a “wonderful” cause by hosting a charity car wash.

Thu, 16:39

Cheery 236 bus driver Nelson Campos tells the Gazette why he loves his current route between Islington and Hackney – and reminisced about working for the home office, courts and the police.

Thu, 16:02

The headteacher of North Bridge House Senior Canonbury has lauded the efforts of his students on A-level results day.

Thu, 16:02

Hackney Council has urged Transport for London to scrap a series of “unacceptable” cuts to bus services that would see the 48 shelved completely and several others scaled back.

Thu, 16:00

A mother and her three young kids are devastated after their pet chihuahua was shot dead in a Canonbury garden yesterday afternoon.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now