Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,
Please read the following recent article from local newspaper the
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
Within the Echo article, Seaview Road in Liscard is mentioned as
“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
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
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
Despite its remarkable length, I don’t believe there are ANY school
zig zags on Seaview Road, Liscard,
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:
…More spy car / parking fine stories. Move your cursor over the date to read the Headline:
And finally… from the Wirral Globe comments of October last year:
8th April 2014
Hungry for more, the spy car was back in situ today, topping up the council coffers…
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: