Recent Freedom if Information requests by the civil liberties group, Big Brother Watch, has shown that councils are raking in millions from parking fines and traffic offences issued by CCTV cameras.
In total £312 Million has been collected by local authorities. Whilst the bulk of it is from London Boroughs, other local councils have now adopted their use. A total of 87% of local councils now employ CCTV. The rampant use of the cameras as another method of penalising motorists has been heavily criticised by Big Brother Watch, who quoted the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice published by the Government. This document states that CCTV should be used sparingly for traffic offences, and they suggest the clear abuse of them has given us a situation where they should be banned from issuing parking offences captured using CCTV.
They are not the only ones who think it. In the foreword of the report Conservative MP Nick de Bois wrote, ”CCTV should only ever be used in exceptional circumstances, and therefore I agree with the Government that local authority use of CCTV for parking enforcement should be banned,” Somehow we feel local councils won’t be too happy to lose such an easy cash cow for them.
They also say there is a good chance that fines issued by traffic wardens from the CCTV control centre could be illegal, with the use of CCTV meaning certain regulations have not been followed. Call it a hunch, but somehow we can’t see the local councils issuing refunds any time soon.
What are your thoughts? Do you think it is fair for local councils to raise money by penalising motorists using CCTV?