Favouritism for Labour HQ repeat fly-postering?
27/06/2017 17:45:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
I've received an answer back from Cllr Ali who is the Cabinet Member responsible for Council Enforcement on a question about fly-postering procedure.
CQ032-17 from Councillor Mario Creatura to Councillor Hamida Ali
Can the Cabinet Member please detail the following:
- How many cases of fly-postering have been reported to the Council by residents since May 2014?
- How many cases of fly-postering have been noted independently by officers since May 2014?
- How many of those are 'repeat offenders'?
- How many have resulted in a 'warning' visit from enforcement officers? Please divide these by those highlighted by residents and those noted by officers.
- How many of those have resulted in some form of formal enforcement? Please detail the action taken again dividing between those highlighted by residents and those noted by officers.
1. How many cases of fly-posting have been reported to the Council by residents since May 2014?
748 have been reported and removed across the service. Unfortunately the method of reporting and recording does not allow us to differentiate between residents and other sources.
2. How many cases of fly-posting have been noted independently by officers since May 2014?
As above these figures cannot be separated as are recorded together. 748 fly post reports have been recorded since 2014.
3. How many of those are 'repeat offenders'?
From our records we can find only 1 who could be deemed to be a repeat offender.
4. How many have resulted in a 'warning' visit from enforcement officers? Please divide these by those highlighted by residents and those noted by officers.
The council do not generally visit organisations suspected of fly posting. The first stage in the process is to try and contact who we think is responsible, advise them that what they are doing is illegal and ask that they remove the posters. This is successful in the vast majority of cases. If they refuse or we get evidence of further incidents the council would then issue a formal written warning. Our records show that 4 Premises or businesses have received written warnings.
5. How many of those have resulted in some form of formal enforcement? Please detail the action taken again dividing between those highlighted by residents and those noted by officers.
There has been 1 prosecuted, who were fined and ordered to pay a combined total of £10,230. The level of detail as to who reported the incidents has not been recorded (as a witness to the posters actually being up is not necessary for a prosecution unless a person sees the offender putting them up.)
This answer triggered a number of further questions that I have today submitted to the Council:
'In response to the answer given to CQ032-17 on the subject of fly-postering, the Cabinet Member reveals that using the Council's records they can find only one who could be deemed to be a repeat offender.
On 27th June 2016 I reported to Officers the repeated fly-postering of Croydon Town Centre by Ruskin House on Coombe Road - the HQ of the Croydon Labour Party. These posters were on the sides of buildings, phone boxes, walls and other non-sanctioned locations.The reply on 28th June ensured enforcement officers would look into this and would update me on 'what action is taken'.
On 8th July 2016 I reported to Officers that Ruskin House had yet again fly-postered Croydon Town Centre. That afternoon I was assured the 'NSO team to look at this and update you on what action they have taken'.
On 22nd February 2017 I yet again reported to Officers that Ruskin House had put up posters around Croydon Town Centre. I was assured on 27th February that this would be taken up and I'd be 'updated directly as this is an enforcement issue.' No update was provided.
On 11th March 2017 I reported to Officers that Ruskin House had put up yet more posters around Croydon Town Centre. A more substantive reply came on 13th March. The fly posters in 2016 were dealt with by way of a verbal warning. The individual person that this was issued to is no longer involved with Ruskin House so the Council told me they were unable to follow up with enforcement action.
Ruskin House has now been issued with a written warning which, if breached, could result in a Community Protection Notice being issued. This would then make them liable to a fine or prosecution.
My questions to the Cabinet Member are as follows:
1. Why is the system used to record instances of fly-postering not kept up to date accurately by Officers?
2. What processes will she be putting in place to ensure the accurate recording of information for the purposes of enforcement going forward?
3. Will the Cabinet Member ensure that 'Ruskin House' as opposed to an individual is noted as a 'repeat offender'?
4. Is it the practice of this administration to attribute an organisation's illegal fly-postering as the responsibility of an individual or of anyone representing that organisation?
5. Does the Cabinet Member believe Ruskin House has been given particularly special treatment and if so why does the she believe that is the case?
6. Should Ruskin House break the written warning, what does the Cabinet Member believe is proportionate enforcement action?
7. Does the Cabinet Member feel it is acceptable for political parties to fly-poster, sticker or spread other messages through illegal means?
8. Will the Cabinet Member commit to work with colleagues within her party to ensure that illegal political fly-postering will never again take place across our borough?
9. Can the Cabinet Member please estimate a cost for the removal of the Ruskin House posters and the Labour General Election fly-postering/stickers that she will be aware have been distributed across the borough?'