It seems that multiple complaints from drivers have forced Hounslow Council to switch off CCTV cameras in some parts of the borough.
Parking enforcement cameras were introduced earlier this year as part of the Council's CCTV rollout across the borough. Following the complaints, the Council has suspended their use (under a new Labour administration – the Tories installed the cameras
before the last election).
An investigation is now to take place into whether residents were given sufficient warning of the cameras' existence – which is strange, as local residents are usually not consulted at all when CCTV is installed…
Questions over the Council's CCTV signage arose in 2007 when motorists queried the legality of parking tickets issued by the CCTV camera situated on the bridge next to Turnham Green tube station.
When first installed, the signage read 'Hounslow CCTV Combating Crime Theft Vandalism 24hr monitoring is being carried out in this area by Street Management & Public Protection Dept. At the time, there was no notice in the immediate vicinity of the camera stating that it is being used for parking enforcement.
London Council’s Code of Practice regarding signage states: "Relevant camera enforcement signs should be displayed in areas where the system operates. The signs will not define the field of view of the cameras but will advise that CCTV camera enforcement is taking place in the area".
The suspension applies only to new cameras operational since March. These include some in Feltham, Hanworth and Bedfont, as well as Hounslow, Cranford and Syon.
The new Labour administration apparently believes that there was insufficient publicity before these cameras were implemented, and therefore enforcement at the sites has temporarily ceased whilst CCTV parking enforcement is reviewed.
We applaud this approach and urge other councils to follow it.
By Alex Deane