Littering and dog fouling are two of the biggest bugbears of the Edinburgh public.
That feeling comes through time and again whenever people are asked for their views on life in the Capital. We’re no different from any other city – at least in the UK – on that point. So anything that can be done to help tackle the problem has to be welcomed.
The council wardens who have to challenge the ignorant minority who cannot clean up after themselves deserve all the support they can get. Anyone who has ever challenged someone in the street about this – even a relatively young child – will know there is every chance of getting a volley of abuse in return. If wardens feel physically threatened at times, it is no wonder.
The ability to record proceedings whenever they feel uncomfortable will be a great reassurance. The great thing about it is that it will be a deterrent rather than a means of catching offenders. Telling someone who is behaving aggressively that they are being filmed is almost guaranteed to make them calm down and behave properly. Far better that than leaving them to hit or abuse an unfortunate member of staff, and then take them to court.
Giving staff at the sharp end the protection and confidence they need to tackle litter louts is hugely important. So too is the excellent ongoing work in schools to teach the next generation about the damage which it causes. What is also critical and sadly lacking in Edinburgh is a concerted effort to catch and punish those who refuse to respect the environment and their fellow citizens.
The number of litter fines handed out in the Capital is a pitiful fraction of those issued in Glasgow. We should take a leaf out of their book and start to take this seriously. Some people won’t stop until they realise their filthy behaviour might land them with the kind of fine that we seem to reserve for motorists.