Greedy councils face spy car ban

Echo: Government says CCTV must not be used as a 'cash cow' Government says CCTV must not be used as a 'cash cow'

GREEDY councils have been banned from using spy cars as a “cash cow”.

The Smart cars fitted with CCTV, used by Southend and Basildon councils, have been used to secretly film offences.

New rules mean traffic wardens will have to fix tickets on to windscreens.

Councils will only be allowed to use CCTV evidence on critical routes, such as near schools and on bus lanes.

Robert Green, 65, of Lifstan Way, Southend, was fined earlier this year as he waited by a bus stop for a car to move away so he could stop in a legitimate parking space. He successfully challenged the ticket.

He said: “These tickets are very unfair and I would support a ban.

“I still don’t believe it will happen. The Government is just paying us lip service.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles described the use of spy cars as over-zealous and unreasonable stealth fines.

He said: “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street, raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls.”

Malcolm Buckley was responsible for introducing a spy car in Basildon when he was a district councillor. He said he hoped the council would still be able to use it to police parking outside schools.

He said: “Suburban councils, like Basildon, saw it as a quick and efficient way to deter illegal parking outside schools.

“If this can continue, it should not affect Basildon too much.”

There has been a marked increase in the use of CCTV to enforce parking regulations since it was introduced under Labour in 2004. A total of 9 million parking fines are handed out by local authorities in England every year.

Comments (10)

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7:59am Tue 24 Jun 14

Eastwoodian says...

No doubt a loop-hole will be found . . .
No doubt a loop-hole will be found . . . Eastwoodian
  • Score: 5

8:21am Tue 24 Jun 14

QuestionTime says...

I very much doubt there will be sufficient income produced from just using these spy cars at schools and on bus routes to warrant the council keeping them.......with the drivers salary and the cost itself of running the spy car it could actually cost the council money to run these cars.
I very much doubt there will be sufficient income produced from just using these spy cars at schools and on bus routes to warrant the council keeping them.......with the drivers salary and the cost itself of running the spy car it could actually cost the council money to run these cars. QuestionTime
  • Score: 9

9:08am Tue 24 Jun 14

the citizen says...

Do Southend actually own these vehicles, or is the service delivered by a contractor? If there isn't enough in it for the contractor they will soon abandon the agreement.
Do Southend actually own these vehicles, or is the service delivered by a contractor? If there isn't enough in it for the contractor they will soon abandon the agreement. the citizen
  • Score: 3

9:59am Tue 24 Jun 14

Robin Reliant says...

the citizen wrote:
Do Southend actually own these vehicles, or is the service delivered by a contractor? If there isn't enough in it for the contractor they will soon abandon the agreement.
Pretty sure they lease them at a massive cost! and can't see them making the cash purely through bus stops and school zig zags, parents deserve a bigger fine when parking illegally at schools, hit them hard thats the only way they will learn, its the same ones day in day out.
[quote][p][bold]the citizen[/bold] wrote: Do Southend actually own these vehicles, or is the service delivered by a contractor? If there isn't enough in it for the contractor they will soon abandon the agreement.[/p][/quote]Pretty sure they lease them at a massive cost! and can't see them making the cash purely through bus stops and school zig zags, parents deserve a bigger fine when parking illegally at schools, hit them hard thats the only way they will learn, its the same ones day in day out. Robin Reliant
  • Score: 4

10:37am Tue 24 Jun 14

Jack222 says...

If its cost efficient then do it.

Break the law - pay the fine.

And I had no objection to the hidden ones either...
If its cost efficient then do it. Break the law - pay the fine. And I had no objection to the hidden ones either... Jack222
  • Score: 6

11:19am Tue 24 Jun 14

Little John says...

QuestionTime wrote:
I very much doubt there will be sufficient income produced from just using these spy cars at schools and on bus routes to warrant the council keeping them.......with the drivers salary and the cost itself of running the spy car it could actually cost the council money to run these cars.
An interesting point Question Time. For years we have listened to the same old mantra from SBC that the spy cars are not about raising revenue but are there to keep traffic flowing and the roads safe. I fully support the use of these cars outside schools and accident black spots. When it comes to the safety of Southend residents, it does not matter whether it's profitable or not. Used correctly, the spy cars are just another service we pay for through our council tax charges like street cleansing and rubbish collections. I'm sure there's no profit in most of the services SBC arrange for us all. However, it will be interesting to see if SBC stick to their mantra of supporting road safety with such gusto with a possible non profit making system of policing it. Time will tell.......
[quote][p][bold]QuestionTime[/bold] wrote: I very much doubt there will be sufficient income produced from just using these spy cars at schools and on bus routes to warrant the council keeping them.......with the drivers salary and the cost itself of running the spy car it could actually cost the council money to run these cars.[/p][/quote]An interesting point Question Time. For years we have listened to the same old mantra from SBC that the spy cars are not about raising revenue but are there to keep traffic flowing and the roads safe. I fully support the use of these cars outside schools and accident black spots. When it comes to the safety of Southend residents, it does not matter whether it's profitable or not. Used correctly, the spy cars are just another service we pay for through our council tax charges like street cleansing and rubbish collections. I'm sure there's no profit in most of the services SBC arrange for us all. However, it will be interesting to see if SBC stick to their mantra of supporting road safety with such gusto with a possible non profit making system of policing it. Time will tell....... Little John
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Ian P says...

Whether you agree with them or not, the fact is originally, the fines were paid to the Government. We saw a sudden many fold increase in greed cars and cameras when the Government allowed Councils to retain the income. So like or not they are being used as 'cash cows' and not just safety enforcers which they should be. If the Government went back to the old way and started taking the income again, the Councils' interest would fade overnight.
Whether you agree with them or not, the fact is originally, the fines were paid to the Government. We saw a sudden many fold increase in greed cars and cameras when the Government allowed Councils to retain the income. So like or not they are being used as 'cash cows' and not just safety enforcers which they should be. If the Government went back to the old way and started taking the income again, the Councils' interest would fade overnight. Ian P
  • Score: 1

1:10pm Tue 24 Jun 14

pembury53 says...

Ian P wrote:
Whether you agree with them or not, the fact is originally, the fines were paid to the Government. We saw a sudden many fold increase in greed cars and cameras when the Government allowed Councils to retain the income. So like or not they are being used as 'cash cows' and not just safety enforcers which they should be. If the Government went back to the old way and started taking the income again, the Councils' interest would fade overnight.
exactly what happened with the police enforcement of speeding, there used to be scamera traps everywhere, until the govt changed the rules about who kept the cash, then they disappeared like the early morning mist, proving it had nothing whatsoever to do with safety, it was just a right royal scam
[quote][p][bold]Ian P[/bold] wrote: Whether you agree with them or not, the fact is originally, the fines were paid to the Government. We saw a sudden many fold increase in greed cars and cameras when the Government allowed Councils to retain the income. So like or not they are being used as 'cash cows' and not just safety enforcers which they should be. If the Government went back to the old way and started taking the income again, the Councils' interest would fade overnight.[/p][/quote]exactly what happened with the police enforcement of speeding, there used to be scamera traps everywhere, until the govt changed the rules about who kept the cash, then they disappeared like the early morning mist, proving it had nothing whatsoever to do with safety, it was just a right royal scam pembury53
  • Score: -1

1:18pm Tue 24 Jun 14

pembury53 says...

QuestionTime wrote:
I very much doubt there will be sufficient income produced from just using these spy cars at schools and on bus routes to warrant the council keeping them.......with the drivers salary and the cost itself of running the spy car it could actually cost the council money to run these cars.
i beg to differ.... the arrogance of parents outside schools knows no bounds, and these spy cars can now target them all, everyday, unabated, notching up fines left right and centre, while the rest of us breath a sigh of relief, safer in the knowledge we can nip into the local shop, while illegally parked for minute or two, without fear..........
[quote][p][bold]QuestionTime[/bold] wrote: I very much doubt there will be sufficient income produced from just using these spy cars at schools and on bus routes to warrant the council keeping them.......with the drivers salary and the cost itself of running the spy car it could actually cost the council money to run these cars.[/p][/quote]i beg to differ.... the arrogance of parents outside schools knows no bounds, and these spy cars can now target them all, everyday, unabated, notching up fines left right and centre, while the rest of us breath a sigh of relief, safer in the knowledge we can nip into the local shop, while illegally parked for minute or two, without fear.......... pembury53
  • Score: 5

1:57pm Tue 24 Jun 14

QuestionTime says...

Remember it's the tax payer that somewhere along the line is paying the operating costs of the spy car and if it ends up not producing sufficient fines to compensate the running costs it will be operating at a loss and will need continual financial support from the councils coffers, and in doing so the tax payer will more than likely end up receiving less from the local council in other services/amenities.
Remember it's the tax payer that somewhere along the line is paying the operating costs of the spy car and if it ends up not producing sufficient fines to compensate the running costs it will be operating at a loss and will need continual financial support from the councils coffers, and in doing so the tax payer will more than likely end up receiving less from the local council in other services/amenities. QuestionTime
  • Score: 3

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