CCTV Cameras; An Extensive Source Of Income For UK Local Councils

Parking Enforcement Cameras 17
Apr 14

CCTV cameras across the UK have brought in almost £312 million in parking and traffic fines between March 2008 and March 2013

There are thousands of CCTV cameras used for 24/7 surveillance on local roads, motorways and parking places across the UK. They are supposed to be playing a vital role in increasing the road safety by identifying the offensive activities but they have also become a major source of income for the councils and have brought in millions of pounds every year. Councils across the UK have raised millions of pounds with the help of CCTVs by issuing parking and traffic fines on a business scale.

“Big Brother Watch” is a research group and they have obtained some stats from “Freedom of Information” and request revealed that city councils across the United Kingdom imposed around £312 million in terms of fixed penalty notices for offensive traffic activities. These fines were collected between March 2008 and March 2013. They also found that several local councils used CCTV cameras to monitor traffic offences and breaching of laws, however approximately 36 local authorities used static CCTV, whereas at least 58 Councils used mobile CCTV. Number of councils using mobile CCTV has increased by almost 87 percent since last five years. Government is stressing on the use of cameras in order to capture traffic offences only.

Brandon Lewis, Minister for Local Government, said, ”It is obvious that CCTV is being used to raise money in industrial volumes for town halls, betrayal of the constitutional principle that fines should not be used as a source of revenue.”

London boroughs are at top of the list and profited the most with almost £285 million from CCTV cameras and by issuing around 90 per cent of these fines. Camden brings in the most income, whilst Ealing, Lambeth, Westminster and Harrow followed closely behind.

Emma Carr, deputy director for Big Brother Watch, said: “The Government should immediately consider whether or not the use of cameras to spy on motorists breaches surveillance laws, particularly where a traffic warden sits in a control room waiting for motorists to ticket. The reality is that no councils issue proper statistics about the working of cameras in order to highlight offences that many know that their CCTV business is about making money, not public safety.”

Peter Box, from Local Government Association’s Economy and Transport Board, heated discussion on these claims: “It is frustratingly common to hear Big Brother Watch again peddling the myth that councils are trying to raise money by enforcing regulations. Road safety supporter, schools, disability and pedestrian charities and councils have all come collectively to advise the Government that forbidding CCTV parking enforcement will put school children and disabled pedestrians at risk and worsen road safety.”