Stock-on-Trent Council are planning to upgrade their CCTV car in an effort to rake in even more fines from unsuspecting motorists. The car has already earned the council well over £120,000 by pulling up near bus lanes and catching motorists out. Now it will be fitted with new technology to photograph people parking their vehicles.
The justification for the upgrade seems rather peculiar. Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for city services, said:
“An enforcement officer turning up often prompts people to move and come back later when they have gone.”
Roy Naylor, a former councillor who is now governor at Newstead Primary School, considers the enforcement necessary as a result of the congestion around local primary schools during the school run. These areas will be prime sites for fines.
Mr Naylor said:
“The problem with wardens is that the parents move elsewhere on the day that they are there and then go back to normal the day after. With the car they won't know when it is coming.”
In other words, traffic wardens stop people parking where they shouldn’t, which is surely the intended aim of traffic enforcement. Instead of this, they prefer CCTV cars which covertly take photographs of drivers without their knowledge.
Pam Harrison was one of the 3,500 motorists hit with a £60 fine since last October. She believes the car is little more than a revenue raiser:
“They will get the money in however they can. Motorists in the city seem to be being hit with everything. I don't agree with people parking wherever they like, and the school run can be a nightmare if people block driveways, but I'd like to see the money raised by the car actually spent on keeping services open.”
Once again councils looking to raise money quickly decide to pick on motorists using intrusive cameras and disconnected enforcement officers. These officials are in an office miles away determining whether any infringements have occurred, then sending out penalty notices which are almost impossible to appeal as motorists do not know they have been photographed.
Not for the first time, an eagle-eyed local resident has spotted the car parked on double yellow lines near a junction contravening parking rules. They took this picture: