Police investigating 300+ cases of ULEZ camera vandalism

Criminal damage to public property in Greater London could cost taxpayers tens of millions.

Red mist: the vandalised ULEZ camera in Selsdon yesterday

The Metropolitan Police is investigating more than 300 cases of vandalism and theft of CCTV cameras, which have been installed as part of the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone to outer London, including Croydon, Bromley and Sutton.

ULEZ, which currently covers an area encircled by the South and North Circulars, is due to be extended to most of the rest of Greater London on August 29.

But attacks on the ULEZ infrastructure is forcing the police and Transport for London  to take special measures to counter and catch the shadowy characters responsible for thousands of pounds of criminal damage.

Transport for London has been forced to develop a new “armoured” ULEZ camera to try to halt a growing wave of criminal attacks.

Inside Croydon’s loyal reader spotted two new ULEZ cameras yesterday which had received treatment from the criminal vandals’ paint brush or spray can – one, which appeared to have been cleaned up a little, at the top end of Upper Selsdon Road, the other, still suffering from the red mist, on Byron Road, opposite Sainsbury’s on the junction with Addington Road.

Stolen: around £0.8m-worth of ULEZ cameras have been nicked on a two-mile stretch of the A224 in Bromley

This week, ITV London reported that within two miles along the A224 in Orpington, a stretch of busy, multi-lane road that leads to the M25, at least 17 cameras had been stolen while three others had been vandalised.

The road is in Tory-controlled Bromley, which was one of five Conservative-run councils which staged a High Court challenge against ULEZ, and lost, leaving their Council Tax-payers to foot a massive legal bill.

According to Freedom of Information responses from TfL, ULEZ Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras – ANPRs – can cost an average of £50,000 each.

TfL’s new-look “RoboCop” reinforced cameras, meanwhile, have a steel case at the rear to protect the wires from being cut and the bolts from being severed.

TfL’s programme of installing 2,750 cameras and warning signs is costing £140million, but the criminal damage is clearly adding millions to those bills.

According to a BBC report today, more than 10per cent of the cameras have been vandalised or stolen between April and mid-August, with 339 reports of camera cables being cut, damaged, or cameras being stolen or obscured.

“The actual number of cameras affected is likely to be even higher as one report can represent multiple cameras,” the BBC caveated. Unofficial data mapping the location of disabled cameras suggests that almost 500 cameras could have been affected.

Clean-up: a second ANPR camera in Selsdon has been ‘repaired’

Despite so much damage having been caused, only one man has so far been charged by police.

A TfL spokesperson said: “Vandalism on our network is unacceptable and all incidents are reported to the police for investigation.

“We have increased the security of the ULEZ cameras following further incidences of vandalism and theft.

“The Met has been clear that this is vandalism of government property and is a criminal offence which could lead to prosecution.”

A shadowy group calling itself “The Bladerunners” has been reported to have claimed responsibility for some of the thefts and sabotage attempts. Some anti-ULEZ groups have been found to have links, and to have received funding, from the American far-right and Trump supporters.

Read more: Confused councillor in roads row after he ‘likes’ vandalism

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13 Responses to Police investigating 300+ cases of ULEZ camera vandalism

  1. Anthony Miller says:

    Perhaps they should…

    …recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws – Robert Peel.

    Or they could mount more cameras to film the vandalised cameras?

    • While I appreciate that you once aspired to be a comedian, and your post might therefore be a late attempt to resurrect your, ahem, career, it’s possible you were in fact serious. In which case, what makes you think ULEZ doesn’t have the respect and approval of the public? Opinion polls suggest that is the case across London. Of course, if you prefer to take the side of criminals, that’s hardly surprising, as anyone who’s seen your act would attest

      • Anthony Miller says:

        The idea of Policing by Consent was that the police would gain the cooperation of the public by gaining approval, respect and affection of the public through human interaction. CCTV and ANPR cameras are incapable of forming any such human bonds or approval on their own because they don’t interact. They just are. Aloof all seeing eyes on poles sending fines in automated patterns … They are just robots who spend most of their time creating such emotions as fear and anger and alienation. This is why speed awareness courses were invented because simply doling out fines didn’t actually change people’s behaviour. And it is people’s actual behaviour that is the consent not philosophical agreement with the laws themselves. Some wealthy people simply mathematically calculated how many times they could afford to break the speeding laws and how much it would cost them and did so. For many people fining them for speeding didn’t actually change their behaviour. In the same way some shoplifters calculate how many times they can get caught before landing a custodial sentence. Knowing something is wrong and agreeing something is wrong doesn’t stop people breaking the law if they think they can get away with it. Indeed even being able to get away with it doesn’t stop people breaking the law. Look at Boris Johnson going to lockdown parties, having himself officially photographed at them and sending press releases to the Times about it just in case the knowledge wasn’t disseminated widely enough. Or look at Donald Trump showing everyone secret documents at golfing parties…. Agreeing with the law and cooperation with the law are subtly different. Cameras and robots are tools but they have limitations in this respect.

      • miapawz says:

        Roger Hallam, head of XR thinks the Ulez is wrong. it’s punishing poor people.. There you go. It’s been very badly handled. People need more time to change their cars. And rich gas guzzler SUVs shoudl be charged even if they are 23 platers

        • Annabel Smith says:

          Is the A225 poorly served by public transport? Would be interested to know. That would at least explain the sentiment behind the criminal behaviour

  2. When these far-right criminals on wheels aren’t vandalising ULEZ cameras, they’re intimidating and endangering other people with the way they drive, polluting our air and doing their best to overheat the only home we’ve got. Their sense of entitlement knows no bounds, and they always play the victim card.

    Mobile cameras would help here, along with rumours that they’re being deployed in unmarked white vans.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Have tou found evidence of them all being far right? Honestly that description could fit almost all of those committing anti social criminal acts in North Croydon (both organised gangs and un-organised idiots,) in a very far from right community?

      I was under the belief that crimes in general are caused by criminals? However I did giggle at the white van man pun!

  3. Peter Underwood says:

    I have yet to see any condemnation of this criminal damage to ULEZ cameras from local Conservative Councillors, the Mayor of Croydon, or Chris Philp – who also happens to be the junior Minister for policing.

    We know about the recent catalogue of criminal activities by Conservative MPs and Prime Ministers, but have local Conservatives now completely given up on law and order?

    • Chris Flynn says:

      Fabricant has today suggested that pubs should just open early on Sunday. So yes.

      • Annabel Smith says:

        Are you suggesting there might be a correllation between the closures of wetherspoons pubs and rise of ULEZ vandalism? Might be onto something there.

  4. Ian Kierans says:

    Peter – ditto response to Arfur,
    Criminals and criminal acts are committed by people from all political hues. Though we could say that Greenpeace are acting in the worlds best interests and stay mostly on the right side of the law, they have also erred, as have representatives of the Lib Dems, Labour, Unionists, Sinn Sein, SNP independents.

    Yes there should be condemnation from elected representatives and I believe there are laws now to charge or investigate those exhorting such acts – so perhaps the Metropolitan Police will be investigating any possible political links to elected officials or party members and anyone with knowledge of such I would urge to make contact with the Police even anonymously as I am sure will yourself?

  5. Ian Kierans says:

    Again thanks to IC for an article that captures thoughts and makes us really think.

    A camera should and can never replace a human officer really empowered and positively and objectively involved in their local community. One that actually works with and within the Community that those in need feel comfortable speaking to knowing there is and will be no bias or adverse impacts. But that is not yet a reality for us.

    Excessively polluting vehicle usage is really being made an offense artificially within areas to reduce said pollutants from causing detriment to individuals – it also causes damage to buildings, and cleaning those are alsoexpensive. But possible. Cleaning it out of our lungs is not yet possible but preventable.

    So removing pollutants and preventing human detriment is a laudable and an undeniable benefit despite some detractors perverse rationale.

    Using a known polluting gas guzzling vehicle is like smoking excessively, drinking excessively and eating excessively.
    You know its wrong – but that nigging compulsion and self interest over-rides logic and the excuses pop in to justify behaviours.
    Smoking a few cigarettes will not harm anyone – well maybe not immediately like a bullet. But 10 million people all doing that few cigarettes in a small area and many will be hacking up more than a lung!

    The DVLA can identify all non compliant vehicles. However the issues come because it is not illegal to drive those vehicles. It is not a crime to run a polluting vehicle. It is not even infringing any environmental laws. (Does that not suggest the laws need modernisation?)

    I am not a fan of ANPR but it is a tool in use and albeit a blunt instrument and the sysytem is very rigid. It can penalise a minority unreasonably and unfairly, but it does catch the majority.

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