KINGDOM staff working in Wirral are subject to daily abuse from members of the public who do not feel they need to follow the rules, the council’s top environment officer has said.

In fact one man is currently facing criminal charges after allegedly attacking a litter officer, according to Mike Cockburn, Wirral’s strategic commissioner for the environment.

The allegations over how Kingdom staff are treated by the public came to light during last week’s meeting of the council’s environment overview and scrutiny committee.

During the meeting Mr Cockburn, said that Kingdom staff are subject to “acts of violence, aggression and ridicule on a daily basis”.

He added: This is the sort of threat and intimidation that the staff are facing.

“My point to them is that we will support you and not tolerate such behaviour or intimidation. However, we do expect exemplary conduct, and we won’t defend when there’s been poor conduct or there’s a case to answer.”

The committee was told the day-to-day working experience for officers was “currently extremely difficult and often distressing”, with five “incidents” reported in December, and eight in January.

They were also told that in the “majority” of complaints against Kingdom staff, subsequent investigations have shown “there is not a case to answer”.

Following the meeting, the council’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Anita Leech, said: “It is a difficult job to confront those who feel they do not need to dispose of litter properly and we ask a lot of Kingdom staff.

“At the same time we expect Kingdom’s staff to act appropriately and we will continue to monitor that extremely closely, as this meeting has demonstrated.

“We have contracted with Kingdom to provide these services because people in Wirral are fed up with a small minority littering and ruining our beautiful borough with impunity.

“Some people feel the rules most of the rest of us abide by do not apply to them and we need to educate and deter these kinds of attitudes if we’re to protect our local environment.”

The meeting was held to update members on the environment enforcement contract. Michael Fisher, director of Kingdom’s environmental protection division, was also on hand to answer questions from committee members.

He said he expected officers to treat members of the public “with respect”, and that Kingdom have clear guidelines to protect vulnerable members of the public, including those with mental health issues.

He also moved to reassure the public that litter dropped accidentally should not attract a fine from Kingdom, whose contract with the council was renewed last year.

Merseyside Police said a 26-year-old from Tranmere is due to appear before Wirral Magistrate’s Court next month charged with assault and criminal damage to property on October 31.

He is accused of attacking an on-duty official on New Chester Road in Birkenhead and is also charged with two further separate public order offences in December.