At the end of 2013, we wrote about the Government’s plans to ban CCTV parking cameras, meaning that only traffic wardens and police would be able to film vehicles breaking the law.
The Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government launched a consultation asking whether CCTV parking cameras should be banned, in reaction to many councils who, rather than focusing on specific parking infringements, have taken the brazen approach of using CCTV cars to indiscriminately spy on drivers.
This of course has not gone down well with the Local Government Association (LGA), who have announced that they oppose the Governments plans, saying that the ban will do little to reduce the number of tickets given to drivers breaking the law but would put schoolchildren at risk and worsen road safety. What is clear is that the LGA has stood back and said nothing whilst councils have stung motorists for more than £300 million in fines, highlighting that this is about money rather than safety.
All too often councils using CCTV to hand out fines to drives have made vague assertions about more surveillance keeping children safe from danger whilst not taking any proactive steps to provide proper facilities for well-meaning drivers dropping their children off at school. Extra surveillance does not stop accidents from happening and if schools have assessed a specific area as being of higher risk to children’s’ safety, then police, traffic wardens or crossing patrols can be dispatched who can actually tackle the problem head on.
If the LGA are determined that the cameras are merely being used to keep school children safe, then we call on them to tell the public what proportion of the tickets issued last year were outside schools, or are they too scared to tell the public the truth?
Ultimately, CCTV is never going to solve the fundamental problem of there not being enough parking spaces, and using cameras to catch out people who fall fowl of parking restrictions completely undermines public trust in the surveillance they have been told to accept to protect their own safety, not to fill council coffers and justify expensive CCTV systems.