A Panorama investigation into Bexley Council’s litter policy has highlighted “bonuses” for the amount of litter tickets issued to residents.

Bexley Labour have called on the council to conduct an investigation into the conduct of private company Kingdom, who work in Bexley to monitor littering in the town.

The programme, shown on Monday, exposed tactics employed by Kingdom employees who work on a commission scheme and appeared to employ tactics such as pretending to phone the police.

A spokesman for Bexley Council said the programme did not give an accurate picture of the service in the town.

The spokesman said: “Most of the examples featured were from other parts of the country and focused on cases that were far from typical.

“Our service was introduced last year as a one year trial. We will be reviewing it this summer, as planned."

Figures released by the council show that 97 per cent of recorded offences from October 2016 to February 2017 involved dropping a cigarette or spitting.

The remaining three per cent involved dog fouling or other litter offences.

Councillor Danny Hackett, parliamentary Candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup, said: “Nobody condones littering, but some shocking footage has emerged as part of this Panorama investigation of excessive and irresponsible behaviour from the enforcement officers.”

One Twitter user said:"Having just watched the Panorama programme I was horrified at the way litter enforcement officers in Bexley behave. It's simply outrageous!"

A Kingdom manager said in the programme that Bexley Council does not pay Kingdom, but they do get a share of the profit from tickets.

A statement from Kingdom said the allowance was discretionary and only given to employees if they meet all their basic competencies.

In the Panorama episode, footage showed Kingdom managers saying they only want to work with councils who want a hard line approach to litter so they can “enforce in the way they we need to.”

Bexley Council’s spokesman said Kingdom's service has allowed them to enforce the law on littering and dog fouling, which are both criminal offences and which had been the cause of increasing complaints.

The spokesman said: “It has succeeded in deterring both offences and improving the appearance of the borough, at no extra cost to Council taxpayers.

“We are in discussion with Kingdom about the way they incentivise and train their staff. We will emphasise that the way their staff behave must always be fair and reasonable, and follow both the letter and spirit of the law.”#

Kingdom said in a statement: "The business model requires careful management from both a performance and commercial aspect to ensure it is commercially viable for Kingdom and the Authority alike whilst providing a service whereby the only people paying for this service are offenders and not budgets within the authority.

"Our checks and balances can be scrutinised by our clients who have direct access to our management system underpinning the service including all the camera footage of every interaction with an offender.

"We are proud of our service but are always honest enough to acknowledge where improvements can be made and quickly implement them."