Shocking leaked messages show council hired litter police joking about kicking kids in the head and competing to hand out the most fines.
Dating back to last summer the What’sApp chat reveals the controversial Merseyside litter police at their very worse, The Liverpool Echo reported.
Passed on to the press by a former member of the Kingdom litter squad, the messages highlight the relentless pressure put on officers to hand out a certain number of fines – despite the company regularly claiming they are supposed to be working largely as deterrents against littering.
One message from the Wirral team joked: “What’s the official line on kicking little sh*t kids in the head? Is it a proper no, or just frowned upon…?!”
To this a fellow team member responded: “On a none professional point just boot them but on a professional point just ignore them and move on haha.”
Private firm Kingdom is contracted by both Liverpool and Wirral
The company immediately distanced itself from the staff members behind the messages and promised to investigate and potentially discipline those involved.
The messages appear to confirm that officers are constantly asked how many fines they have handed out – and urged to up their numbers if they are falling short.
A league table of litter fines is referenced and members are frequently talking about how many they have handed out.
One member – who appears to be in a senior position – consistently and repeatedly asked questions like “What is everyone on please?”, “What are the scores shift?” and “final scores today?”
Amongst a range of accusations levelled at Kingdom since they started working on Merseyside is that officers have stalked or followed people in an intimidating manner.
One of the leaked messages, also from a seemingly senior team member, stated: “Just so everyone is aware.
“If an offender litters from a window of their car whilst driving, you cannot follow them to their houses as we have had a complaint that 2 male officers followed a lady in the car.
“This has kicked off big time with councillors – you cannot follow in this manner anymore.”
The same staff member also appeared to offer some concerning instructions to the team, advising them to stop offering advice for how to appeal a litter fine.
The message read: “Please stop telling people that if they appeal it will be successful. Have been through footage today and a few are doing it.”
If Kingdom litter officers are supposed to be working to deter people from dropping litter and educate the public on properly disposing of their rubbish.
It seems at least one member of staff did not get the memo.
They messaged the group, moaning: “Everyone going bin today, not looking good still on 1 and been walking all round Liscard, Poulton, Seacombe and now b Birkenhead ..give up today sorry guys.”
The ECHO has sent the messages to Kingdom, who have condemned the messages and promised to carry out an investigation.
A spokesman said: “Kingdom do not recognise that form of communication.
“Having seen some of the language used an investigation will be carried out and if necessary disciplinary procedures may follow.
“Kingdom expects more from its staff.”
Public action group Wirral Against the Litter Police has been protesting against a force it sees as a money making entity.
A spokesperson for the group said: “We’re grateful to the Echo for bringing this into the public domain.
“We’ve known for a long time Kingdom are working on Wirral purely for profit and not for any environmental benefit to the borough.
“Whilst we had heard rumours of their operatives having a league table and making a competition out of the FPN issuing, often at the expense of the most vulnerable Wirral residents, as well as those living in the least affluent areas of our Borough, we’re disgusted to have this confirmed.
“Establishing a chat group ‘league table’ clearly shows their contempt for the true intent of the regulations.”