09-01-2008, 07:13 PM
love, blood, life
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Local Time: 10:00 AM
Beware the Savage Jaw
Now it's the citizen snoopers: Councils recruit unpaid volunteers to spy on their neighbours| News | This is London
Councils are recruiting 'citizen snoopers' to report litter louts, dog foulers and even people who fail to sort out their rubbish properly.
The 'environment volunteers' will also be responsible for encouraging neighbours to cut down on waste. The move comes as local authorities dish out £100 fines to householders who leave out too much rubbish or fail to follow recycling rules.
It will fuel fears that Britain is lurching towards a Big Brother society, following the revelation this week that the Home Office is extending some police powers to council staff and private security guards. Critics said the latest scheme could easily be abused and encourage a culture of bin spies and curtain twitchers.
Matthew Elliott, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'Snooping on your neighbours to report recycling infringements sounds like something straight out of the East German Stasi's copybook. 'With council tax so high, the last thing people want to pay for is an army of busybodies peering through their net curtains at their neighbours as they put out their rubbish.' Recruitment adverts appealing for the unpaid environmental volunteers have appeared across the country in recent months.
In Hampshire, Eastleigh council wants locals to 'monitor local environmental quality' and report 'issues' involving recycling and waste. In East London, Tower Hamlets is recruiting volunteers for a crackdown on reluctant recyclers. Other councils are expected to launch similar schemes.
Officially, the volunteers are not encouraged to spy on neighbours or report them. But councils are unlikely to ignore tip-offs.
Earlier this year the Daily Mail revealed that councils have hired 850 agents and informers to catch fly-tippers, tax cheats and other offenders.
The 'covert human intelligence sources' keep watch on suspected law-breakers and yobs. Any evidence they find, such as illegal alcohol sales or wastedumping, can be used in court.
The latest recruits are being hired by council environment departments.
Eastleigh has already taken on around a dozen who answered an advert in a council newsletter which said: 'Volunteers will be involved in reporting issues in their area such as recycling, waste, fly-tipping, graffiti, dog fouling and abandoned vehicles'.
The recruits will also be involved in the 'promotion of recycling and waste minimisation across the borough'. The LibDem-controlled council denied the volunteers would be asked to spy on neighbours. 'These are all people who care about the environment and they will be ambassadors for their area,' a spokesman said. 'They will be there to report graffiti, abandoned vehicles and local vandalism, but not to report on other individuals.'
The volunteers will be trained on the council's waste and recycling policies and asked to explain them in the community.
Hard green bastards.