Croydon Council using CCTV to fine hundreds of motorists a day, figures show
THE legitimacy of thousands of parking tickets has been called into question following revelations the council is using CCTV to catch hundreds of motorists each week.
The Department for Transport dictates that cameras should be used "only where enforcement is difficult or sensitive and civil enforcement officer (wardens) enforcement is not practical".
But the Advertiser has found they are being used in areas, such as Purley High Street, where wardens are already on patrol, calling their legitimacy into question.
The AA this week said motorists would consider themselves "easy pickings".
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A spokesman added: "The presence of a warden can prevent many parking offences occurring and almost seems fair game, but CCTV takes enforcement to a whole new and, some would say, unacceptable level."
Figures obtained by the Advertiser show Croydon Council issued 20,819 penalty charge notices (PCNs) – 114 a day – on 201 roads by CCTV in the first six months of this year.
However, the council insists it is within the rules because all 201 of the roads are too "difficult" to be policed by wardens, despite using both wardens and CCTV in several of the locations.
It also claims additional CCTV enforcement is "often requested" by residents.
Figures show Purley High Street was the third worst place for fines with 2,151 – behind only Cherry Orchard Road and London Road.
Purley motorist John Bray says the council has a "vendetta" against drivers.
Mr Bray pulled up for ten minutes outside Blockbuster in Purley High Street in what he thought was a parking space, only to receive a ticket.
He said: "It wasn't even a raised kerb and I thought it was a parking space. The council is just running a vendetta against motorists."
"What I find most annoying is I have never been given a vote on the council's parking regime."
A council spokesman said: "PCNs issued via CCTV enforcement are difficult for wardens to enforce as drivers play cat and mouse when they see them in the location.
"Once the warden has moved on, the motorist drives back to the same spot and illegally parks either on the footway or in the loading bays.
"This has been observed in High Street, Purley, and other roads.
"Enforcement in the additional residential areas is mainly as a result of resident requests."
The borough's remaining roads are also deemed "too difficult" because 70 are bus corridors, 44 have schools, 16 are one-way streets and the rest have traffic movement problems due to nearby shops where there is short-term parking. Statutory guidance - issued under the Traffic Management Act 2004 - also states that to use CCTV "the system needs to be well publicised and indicated with lawful traffic signs".
Responding, the council said: "CCTV signs bearing the appropriate logo are placed in the vicinity of all CCTV enforcement locations."
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State recommends that approved devices [CCTV] are used only where enforcement by issuing PCNs [by warden] is impractical."
Drivers who feel they have been given a ticket unfairly should appeal to the council.