5/30/2014UK Report: $500 Million Profit From Parking Ticket Cameras
UK civil rights group issues report that finds local governments have raised $500 million through parking tickets issued by camera.
Local government authorities throughout the United Kingdom are increasingly turning to cameras to issue automated parking tickets. Through a combination of fixed camera setups and mobile closed-circuit television (CCTV) cars, 71 localities issued 6,661,359 citations that generated £312,014,707 (US $521,688,590) in revenue from 2008 to 2013, according to a report released last month by Big Brother Watch.
The civil liberties group requested the data from local governments to investigate the use of CCTV surveillance cameras.
"The public were never told that CCTV would be used for issuing fixed penalty notices when they accepted greater CCTV surveillance," the Traffic Spies report explained. "The rhetoric has always focused on violent crime, anti-social behavior and catching criminals."
The report provides examples of parking tickets issued where the video shows no other vehicles in the area being affected. Other drivers are ticketed after stopping for a matter of seconds.
"Ultimately, CCTV will never solve the fundamental problem of there not being enough parking in town centers, and using cameras intended to catch criminals to issue parking tickets only undermines public trust in the surveillance they've been told to accept to protect their own safety, not to fill council coffers and justify expensive CCTV systems," the report argued.
The group's complaints in previous reports have been heard by members of parliament. The UK government in February closed a consultation on proposed rules that would limit the use of cameras for issuing parking tickets. The Department for Transport sought public input on the idea meant to make parking enforcement "less heavy handed." One proposal would award compensation to individuals who are issued unreasonable tickets as a means of "restoring common sense" to the system and serving as a discouragement to overzealous ticketing.
The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is working to block the government proposal from taking effect. Some 91 percent of the 106 cameras in use are located in the boroughs of London.
A copy of the report is available in a 900k PDF file at the source link below.