Now Pickles axes Croydon’s ‘over-zealous’ spy cars

More good news, as those ludicrous little spy cars, the bounty hunters of the kerbside, are to be banned.

Caught in the act: traffic enforcement officers really ought to know better than park on double yellow lines

Caught in the act: traffic enforcement officers really ought to know better than park on double yellow lines

This will please those who are increasingly exasperated by how the CCTV spy cars – driven by the council Traffic Enforcement Officers – appear to believe that they are immune from the rules of the road which they are supposed to be enforcing. Inside Croydon’s loyal reader was in touch recently after they’d snapped one of these penalty fine buggies illegally parked on double yellow lines on Waddon Way, close to the Hilton and the nearby garden centre.

“Commit an offence to detect an offence, I suppose,” as our reader observed.

“The vehicle was there presumably to monitor the asymmetric right of way at the road constriction by the garden centre.

“It was the second day in a row that it was parked in exactly the same location – we didn’t have a camera on that occasion – and our recollection is that it was there the day before, too.

Close enough? The council vehicle, not content with parking on double yellow, is almost on a zebra crossing zig-zag, too

Close enough? The council vehicle, not content with parking on double yellow, is almost on a zebra crossing zig-zag, too

“On the upside, at least he’s not infringing upon the crossing zig-zag!”

On other occasions and in other locations recently, the spy car has been observed parking in such a way on a narrow thoroughfare as to cause traffic hold-ups, as if to goad impatient drivers into committing an offence.

But the opportunities for Croydon’s spy cars to break the law look to be coming to an end.

The Government has announced that the use of CCTV cars is to be banned, preventing councils using the fixed penalty fines as a cash cow.

In future, parking wardens will have to fix tickets directly on to windscreens, making it illegal for councils to issue penalties to drivers using just the CCTV spy cars.

Councils will still be able to use the CCTV to issue postal tickets for any offences that occur on critical routes, such as those near schools and bus lanes, bus stops and on “red routes”.

The Government announced the ban to prevent “over-zealous parking enforcement practices”, to give motorists and local shops a “fairer deal”.

Not for the first time, in Croydon it appears as if the new Labour-run council will be able to harvest the political capital – if not the penalty income – from a decision by the local government and communities minister in the ConDem Government, Eric Pickles.

“CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls,” Pickles said.

“Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines by post undermine the high street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long-term. The government is taking urgently needed action to ban this clear abuse of CCTV, which should be used to catch criminals, and not as a cash cow.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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2 Responses to Now Pickles axes Croydon’s ‘over-zealous’ spy cars

  1. davidcallam says:

    And Big Eric’s largesse has nothing to do with the forthcoming General Election, l suppose?

    In any busy area, inconsiderate motorists are a resource for the local authority. CCTV is the most efficient way of catching offenders. Mr Pickles has outlawed it, for political reasons, which means councils will have to use less efficient methods of catching the culprits, more wardens perhaps, which then means an increase in the level of fines to cover the added cost of employing extra wardens.

  2. Rod Davies says:

    In light of the anecdotal reports I am hearing about drug dealing and other forms of anti-social & criminal behaviour in central Croydon, couldn’t these vehicles be redeployed to gather photographic evidence and help drive such activities out of Croydon?

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