The News Shopper has relegated Bexley council’s parking enforcement policies
to page 3 this week, maybe Linda Piper its chief reporter is worried that three
front pages in a row will render her liable to a harassment warning or a ban
from entering the council chamber. The Shopper’s article refers to Richmond
council which has been guilty of using its gestapo wagons without first
obtaining approval from the Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA). As a result Richmond has
had to withdraw all its CCTV cars from use and is
likely to have to refund all
the fines levied since March 2009. Linda Piper has rightly appended a question
mark to her headline because nothing is for sure but could Bexley council be equally guilty?
According to The Shopper, Bexley council sought VCA certification only for its cars. Richmond sought certification for its car, its camera and its recording equipment. Unfortunately for Richmond council they werent using the type of camera for which they had certification - I believe because they changed their cars and didnt bother to apply for certification again. So they had no certification for the cameras actually in use. When challenged on this Richmond council first denied everything and when backed into a corner, blamed the certification authority. Everything fell apart when it reached the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service where Richmond’s actions were branded “wholly unreasonable”.
Denying everything and blaming someone else looks very much like a Bexley council tactic; is the case against Bexley council exactly the same as the Richmond one? Well not quite. I understand that Richmond sought approval for their cars and their cameras but allowed the camera details to go out of date. Because of that they are in big trouble. Bexley doesnt appear to have bothered about seeking approval for their cameras at all. For comparison I have included a fully compliant certificate by Ealing council alongside Bexley’s.
This is the Notomob’s case and they are the experts who will pursue it but it seems to me that not seeking approval for a camera at all is a bigger mistake than seeking approval but getting the details wrong or letting them expire.
I suspect we are going to see an awful lot of wriggling by Bexley council’s parking department in the coming weeks.
Once again I am indebted to Notomob for providing the background information for this report.
(Link to News Shopper page added 18th May 2011.)