6/1/2005Undercover BBC Reporter Becomes Meter Maid, Finds Corruption
BBC reporter applies for a job as a meter maid and finds widespread corruption, bribes and theft.
BBC reporter Nkem Ifejika went undercover to apply for a job as a meter maid in London. He found corruption, quotas, bribes and theft.
In the headquarters, a leader board tracks the performance of each "parking attendant" in terms of how many tickets each writes. New recruits must issue at least ten £100 tickets every day or they will be put on probation and warned. Each meter maid is part of a team, and team pressure is used to make underperformers feel bad.
Early on, the reporter was told by fellow meter maids how to break the rules to meet his quota. The ones who broke the rules got the promotions. Other meter maids went even further and stole motorcycles that appeared to be abandoned and took bribes of half the amount of a fine to cancel tickets.
Parking tickets are big business in England, generating over £1 billion (US $1.8 billion) in revenue.
This investigation was instigated by a whistleblower inside the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in London, who came forward with reports about corruption and criminality. What we found out went further than we anticipated.Source: Confessions of a parking attendant (BBC News, 6/1/2005)
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