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News and Comment February 2012

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1 February (Part 2) - Asleep on the job

The Bexley Notomob coordinator tipped me off on Monday that the News Shopper was likely to feature a CCTV spy car driver parked and fast asleep in Yarnton Way today, and so it has, plastered all over its front page. The Shopper asked Si Clarke, Notomob’s local expert on the subject for comment but the News Shopper didn’t use it, too technical for their readers apparently, but I’m sure you will be able to cope if you are interested.

Some councils use unattended systems to identify contraventions automatically and store them for later processing, the CCTV car can be parked and GPS technology tells the system what offence to be looking for. Bexley council does not use this system and the driver needs to be fully awake not only to record the offence should one take place but also to be able to provide a statement of the events to back up the information that is recorded. I would question how alert the driver was as she was not aware that she was the subject of a photo shoot.

Taken from the Code of Practice for Operation of CCTV Enforcement Cameras, Monitoring of Traffic 2.4.1…

“Contraventions will be identified from attended systems by monitoring the screen and operating the cameras in real time. The operator must obtain the most effective images of a vehicle and its surrounding circumstances at the time when any contravention may be occurring. Contraventions must be identified at the time when they are committed. Pre-recorded video images will not be studied to identify contraventions committed at some earlier time.”

Along with obtaining the most effective images of the contravention, the operator must provide a written statement of the contravention. In Bexley’s case the operator may feel redundant as all they do is record the vehicle index number and time and location on a log sheet. Then in contravention of the code of practice Bexley Council review the footage at a later time in a backroom and then send a PCN without taking into account any reasons why the offence may of been committed. In this case, if they were to ask the operator for a statement concerning the circumstances of any PCNs she may have been awake enough to identify, I doubt that she would be able to give the full facts. As we know, once anyone is issued with a PCN the choice is to ask no questions and pay quickly at a reduced rate or try to submit representation. Should that be rejected, they must pay the full amount or take the case to adjudication. If that fails they still only pay the full amount. On the plus side it’s good to note that the number of PCNs issued is falling due to the public complying with parking regulations within Bexley and on some shifts no PCNs are issued. Maybe a reason why the operator felt she could have a little nap.


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