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Bonkers Blog April 2015

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19 April - Bexley council. Confusing motorists and me

Thank you to those who sent “get well” messages, unfortunately neither they nor the antibiotics are doing a lot of good at the moment.

Yesterday, a date that had been fixed for some time, I met up with a number of BiB readers who have good reason not to be fans of Bexley council to discover if there were common features, names of jobsworths etc., and consider what might be done to combat and expose them. I was not really up to participating but the feedback has been encouraging. The details must necessarily remain under wraps.

I survived the meeting but began to wonder if I would survive the night, however there are now signs of improvement and there is something I feel I should correct, or at least clarify, or not as the case may be.

TweetThe Cabinet meeting of 8th April convinced me that Bexley council was proposing to spy on motorists who might make a U turn using its mobile CCTV and the fixed cameras which were installed as a crime prevention measure. I said as much when I announced the following day’s blog on Twitter.

A couple of day’s later I read through the Agenda again and began to have doubts. Nowhere did it say that the fixed CCTV system would be diverted from protection to persecution duties.

Bexley offered the excuse that 28 London boroughs were using both Fixed and Mobile CCTV to enforce Moving Traffic Contraventions (MTC) which is perhaps where I got the idea Bexley would follow suit from.

Then the Cabinet laid out the choices it believed to be available to it. To authorise the use of the gestapo wagons to enforce MTCs and recommend that the full council approves it, or to do nothing.
MICE: Mobile in-car Camera Enforcement - a silly acronym which appears to be unique to Bexley
The reason for making this change is of course revenue collection but Bexley council is not going to admit that. It is just a huge coincidence that it proposes the change when it has run out of money. Preventing an illegal right turn may well improve public safety but probably not half as much as watching out for muggers.
And finally came the decision. To ask the council members to authorise the use of gestapo wagons to trap motorists making mistakes.
The cabinet duly approved what had been agreed in advance and the council leader was asked to sign off their decision. There was no reference to the use of Fixed CCTV so fearing a ghastly error in the original blog I went back to the Cabinet meeting report to see how wrong it might be. Fortunately it only implied that the Fixed CCTV would be used so I changed just a couple of words and hoped no one would notice.

Then I went to the Places Scrutiny Committee meeting and it was all change! At least it was in the Agenda, nobody was interested in questioning the decision and nothing was said about it.
It would appear that Teresa O’Neill signed a proposal that made no reference to the use of the Fixed CCTV network to spy on motorists but the Places Scrutiny Committee believes it will. So what does next week’s Full Council Meeting Agenda have to say about it?

Exactly the same as shown above under ‘Proposed Decisions’. Twenty Eight London Boroughs use Fixed and Mobile CCTV but Bexley is only going to use its gestapo wagons and leave the Fixed CCTV to do what originally justified its huge cost. Well that is what the Agenda says. I think I will believe it when I see it and presumably the Places Scrutiny Committee is as confused as I am.


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