Wednesday, 15 October 2014

In defence of the spy cars

In my recent years on the council an issue guaranteed to cause annoyance to some was spy cars, or to use their proper names the CCTV Surveillance Cars.  I have never fully understood the objections to their use. Firstly to describe them as spy cars has always struck me as ironic as rather than being examples of some form of covert surveillance the cars have signage plastered all over them and a large and obvious camera protruding from their roof! However the Council, no doubt encouraged by Eric Pickles, have announced that their use will be restricted to a limited selection of illegal parking enforcement. Like most people I know I do not park on double yellow lines as even though I may not always understand what purpose they serve I accept that they are often designed to improve safety for  pedestrians, cyclists or other car users or to help traffic flow. It annoys me when people ignore these restrictions but if they do they must accept the risk of a ticket and if tickets are not issued there is no deterrent to greater levels of unsafe and illegal parking. Obviously there need to be safeguards to include an element of common sense in their operation and a reasonable and easy to use appeal system, and I also feel that there are too many yellow lines across the town which serve no useful purpose and should be removed. However when I speak to people who don't support their use they normally assure me that they do not park illegally and think enforcement needs to be efficiently applied but somehow think that the use of the cars is cheating. They don't seem to object if the same areas are enforced by officers on foot but don't like the car even though all enforcement action is filmed making appeals in appropriate cases straight forward. They also mostly generally agree that enforcement around schools and other sensitive areas which can be improved by use of the cars is acceptable. It is a strange situation where there is support for a less effective method of enforcement and it seems that the argument is that all enforcement should be equal but some more equal than others. Well I remain a supporter, subject to the safeguards indicated above, and whilst we should be getting on with a review of the yellow lines across the town I still believe that tickets are not issued by the cars if people are parking legally so what is the problem.

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