CCTV catches drivers
Councils are using Big Brother CCTV tactics to catch more drivers doing traffic offences, an online insurer claims.
Confused.com says that since 2012, drivers caught out by CCTV have paid out more than £182m in fines. Although cameras – fixed and carried on cars are monitoring for traffic offences, the insurance firm says many motorists are unaware that they’re being watched on the road.
The Department for Transport last year launched a consultation to change the law to ban the use of CCTV for on-street parking enforcement and to only allow traffic wardens to film vehicles breaking the rules. The central Government rule for councils is to use CCTV only where enforcement by parking wardens is impractical. Local councils are not allowed to introduce parking controls and charges on street simply to raise revenue Yet so far in 2015, councils have earned more than £36m in revenue from Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) from drivers, the insurer says. The highest revenue-raising councils in 2015 are:
Council Revenue earned Number of PCNs issued
Glasgow City £4,000,468 131,238
Ealing £3,004,278 57,167
Lambeth (London) £2,967,755 62,891
Islington £2,216,007 46,023
Waltham Forest (London) £1,950,969 39,800
Councils in London especially are taking advantage of the benefits of CCTV. A total of 122 cameras are used by Wandsworth Council to catch motorists, and 63 by Hounslow. Those two boroughs account for almost a quarter of all CCTV cameras in the UK that are used in this way.
Matt Lloyd, head of car insurance, says: “In 2015, motorists paid more than £36m to some local councils. This is equivalent to nearly a million fines being issued for traffic offences. This is a staggering amount of money. But it’s also worrying to see the amount of traffic misdemeanours that motorists have so far committed in 2015.”
As the insurer points out, some motorists believe that such use of CCTV surveillance is just another method for councils to generate money; and some think it’s outright wrong. Matt Lloyd adds: “CCTV has always been a bone of contention for many, as people feel their privacy has been invaded. However, the main reason why councils are using these cameras is to stop motorists breaking the law.
“By making drivers abide by the rules of the road, our roads should become more stress-free and safer to drive on.”