RID Squad Investigators

Western Sydney, NSW Australia 1999, ongoing

Formed in 1999, the NSW RID Squad ('Regional Illegal Dumping') is likely to be one of Australia's longest running illegal dumping prevention programs.

Who are they?

The RID Squad is an autonomous team of investigators specialised in dealing with illegal land filling, illegal dumping and general littering activity in Western Sydney.

They conduct proactive investigations and respond to reports received from council patrols and members of the community.

RID Squad members can issue on the spot fines and clean up notices for minor offences, with more serious incidents reported to the relevant council or state government authority.

The business

The RID Squad is as much a human resources model as a way to put litter prevention feet on the ground.

Previously operating under a management committee of representatives from participating councils and the Department of Environment and Conservation, since 2002 a single council has management responsibility on behalf of the region.

As at 2012, Penrith City Council is the RID Squad manager, under the terms of the RID Squad Cooperative Joint Venture Agreement with the council.


The RID Squad has authority and powers under the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act to investigate dumping and land filling across council boundaries. Their investigations are not just restricted to where incidents happen - sleuthing is a common RID Squad technique.

This gives RID Squad members a great deal of scope and autonomy.

They play an educational role as well, often operating displays at shopping centres and council open days, and making presentations at meetings and functions.

RID Squad personnel wear a different uniform from council's local laws staff, reinforcing their separate identity and minimising any public confusion.

The RID Squad supplements the work of council staff, provides a quick response service, and gives councils access to and data on illegal dumping trends and incident histories.

During July 2010 to June 2011, the Western Sydney RID Squad investigated 4,645 illegal dumping incidents.

These investigations resulted in 95 clean up notices and 691 penalty notices.

Success factors

  • Longevity - First and foremost, with ongoing and sustainable funding and commitment, the RID Squad has become part of Western Sydney's litter prevention landscape.
  • Business model - The RID Squad is an entity in itself, with a workplace agreement and a contract with the managing council. This facilitates a seamless geographical spread of intervention across the region, and allows autonomy.
  • Operations - Council local laws and RID Squad activities are highly integrated, and councils actively use the RID Squad to enhance the capabilities of their own services.

More information

NSW EPA website