#WirralFail Council – Highway Robbery!? £12,000 in fines from ONE bus stop !!

03 02 14 - spy car cash

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wirral_cctv_spy_car_locations_at/new

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please read the following recent article from local newspaper the
Liverpool Echo:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/live…

The subject matter covered is the growing amount of revenue
collected by these four wheeled spies in the community. I have a
suspicion that the CCTV camera cars are being parked, left
unmanned, with their telescopic cameras raised and homed in on
“lucrative locations”.

Within the Echo article, Seaview Road in Liscard is mentioned as
follows:

“It [Wallasey Village] was closely followed by Seaview Road in
Liscard which saw 407 motorists caught between July 2012 and
October 2013 – during which 56 drivers found themselves with
tickets.”

Seaview Road.

Please provide the precise locations that the Spy Car CCTV cameras
were pointing at on Seaview Road when the 407 motorists were
“caught” e.g. bus stop with solid yellow line (and location
indicated by either the nearest residential / business address(es)
or a numerical grid location), or e.g. section of double yellow
lines (and location indicated by either the nearest residential /
business address(es) or a numerical grid location).

Between the dates given, please give a figure for the number of
motorists who were “caught” at each stated location.

Between the dates given, please also provide the amount of money
that was collected i.e. debited from the bank accounts of the
offending motorists, recorded by the spy car camera AT EACH
LOCATION, before being transferred to the coffers at Wirral
Council,

This information, when provided, will help the public to gain an
insight into whether the operators of the spy car are using the
vehicle as a ‘cash cow’ and choosing locations where most revenue
is likely to be collected, rather than using the vehicle to deter
dangerous behaviour by motorists e.g. parking on school zig zags
(as repeatedly claimed by Cabinet Portfolio Holder Councillor Harry
Smith).

Despite its remarkable length, I don’t believe there are ANY school
zig zags on Seaview Road, Liscard,

yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   3rd February 2014

An answer came in today for this FoI request.  It seems like all my worst fears have been confirmed.  See the photograph below of the bus stop on Seaview Road, outside Marley’s and the Wirral Hospice Charity Shop.

(The map Coordinates I was given were: 33.0591, 39.2073 – which actually places the bus stop near to the Iraq / Syria border, but no matter…)

On Seaview Road, a total of 407 motorists have been clobbered £35 a time (or £70 if not paid within a fortnight) between the dates of 1st July 2012 and 31st October 2013.  The total collected is £14,002. 

£11,632.50 of this is FROM ONE BUS STOP ALONE !

It would be irresponsible of me to claim that all of the motorists fined here were blameless.  Some may have parked on the yellow bus stop line, left their cars and gone on a two hour shopping spree, some may have popped into Marley’s for a funny cigarette, and straight back into the car.

BUT…  I know for a fact that this is a hugely busy area, and on weekdays and weekends it’s often impossible to find a parking space.  Plenty of drivers, possibly unfamiliar with the area, possibly lost, simply pull across carefully into the space, safely out of the traffic and against the kerb to get their bearings, get some idea of where they can try and park, and then move on.

The council know this of course, and if their spy in the community is parked up over the road, watching and waiting…  “Ker-ching !!” You’ve been clobbered.  That’s £35 / £70 into the coffers.  Many motorists, on receiving the Penalty Charge Notice through the post, will hold their hands up and say, “What was I doing? It’s a fair cop.  I shouldn’t have parked there.  I can’t be bothered appealing it.”  The council know this also and councillors will be licking their lips, as they watch the easy money flowing in their direction.  Some cars may even have broken down and pulled over, but will the drivers’ appeals against the PCNs be heeded, or will the council play hard ball and hold out for the cash?

With this council being a cagey, secretive, paranoid, spiteful and closed off bunch, maybe I’ll need to lodge some more FoI requests and get some wider context.  For example, how much spy car time is dedicated to public safety, as a deterrent to irresponsible and dangerous behaviour, rather than to straightforward revenue collection and swelling of the coffers?

The figures kind of prove what I suspected all along don’t they?  I know that parking on a bus stop for longer than a few minutes, potentially forcing buses to stop on the road is dangerous.  But is that as dangerous as parking on school zig zags when kids are leaving school?  This particular, very calculated approach is abusing the spy car as a ‘cash cow’.  It’s cynical, it’s effective, and it’s straight from the crafty brow of some mega-ambitious servant(s) of what we all know is an unapologetic, abusive council.

As for the drone behind the wheel of the spy in the community,  well, he / she’s ‘only doing his / her job’ isn’t he / she?

“HE / SHE IS ONLY OBEYING ORDERS”

(mock up) Photo of the now infamous revenue collection point on Seaview Road, Liscard:

27 01 14 mock up - spy car

…More spy car / parking fine stories.  Move your cursor over the date to read the Headline:

June 2009 (1)

June 2009 (2)

July 2009 (1)

July 2009 (2)

August 2009 (1)

August 2009 (2)

July 2010

May 2011 (1)

May 2011 (2)

September 2011

June 2012

August 2013

September 2013

And finally…  from the Wirral Globe comments of October last year:

kerching

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/427768870389026817

 

8th April 2014

Hungry for more, the spy car was back in situ  today, topping up the council coffers…

 

spycar at bus stop 8th Apr 2014

UPDATE – 23rd April 2014

For those of you correctly thinking that public safety is paramount, and for those who may suspect that revenue collection is indeed this council’s overriding priority, look at the highly irresponsible and dangerous behaviour the council’s executive members are currently engaged in i.e. trashing public safety and putting our schoolchildren into foreseeable and avoidable danger:

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/yoursay/wirralletters/11162985.Shocked_by_number_of_unattended_Wirral_school_crossings/?action=success#comments

 

About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
This entry was posted in FoI Requests, General and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s