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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Spy camera plan to tackle school run parking problems

A car equipped with a spy camera could be used to catch parents who park illegally when picking up children from school.

Cumbria County Council is considering leasing a vehicle at a cost of £20,000 a year to combat what is says is a growing problem.

At the moment, traffic wardens are responsible for enforcing the rules.

But the council says waiting motorists simply drive off, sometimes dangerously, when they see a warden coming.

The wardens have also been abused and, in some cases, assaulted.

A report to councillors says: “The enforcement of restrictions in the vicinity of schools is difficult to achieve.

“Many motorists sit in their vehicles and when they observe the civil enforcement officers they move away to avoid being served with a penalty-charge notice.

“Enforcement officers comment on the level of hostility they receive from parents, grandparents and guardians waiting to pick up their children from schools.

“They have been verbally abused and have, on the odd occasion, been physically abused.

“Many of the parents seem to resent their presence.”

In Carlisle, wardens are employed by the city council to enforce on-street restrictions on behalf of the county.

Staff there have held talks with their opposite numbers in Oldham where camera cars are already in use.

The Oldham scheme began with a two-week trial during which drivers were given warning letters.

But in the week following the trial, 70 fines were handed out.

The report adds: “The city enforcement team suggest that, if a camera was bought or leased for use by all the districts in Cumbria, it would more than pay for itself.”

There are different sorts of camera cars. Some have a camera fixed to a retractable boom on the roof.

All have GPS positioning and automatic number-plate recognition.

The county’s Carlisle local committee is due to discuss the idea on Wednesday.

It decided two years ago that each school in the urban area of Carlisle should get 11 visits a year by wardens. Schools in rural parts of the district, including Brampton and Longtown, were to get at least seven visits.

That followed problems at several schools including St Michael’s Primary in Dalston where residents complained that parked cars were a safety hazard.

In 2004 Ian Mackay, then headteacher of Scotby School, threatened to name parents guilty of inconsiderate parking in the school’s newsletter.

And last year Cath Pearson, headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Workington, warned that children’s lives were being put in danger by parents who parked on double-yellow lines and mounted pavements. The school in Salterbeck sent letters to parents urging them to obey rules.

Have your say

it will be nice to see some action taken as we have never seen a warden by our local school at all, people even park in my drive going to the school and lately someone has even drove into one of my concrete fence posts (cracking it), but it must have been the invisible driver as no-one we spoke to saw anything.....

Posted by anon on 7 January 2013 at 20:28

I look forward to one of these being deployed to catch the mutitude of blue badge abusers who'd rather block up double yellows with impunity just because the alternative is parting with a few coppers in the car park next toArgos in Whitehaven. I don't suppose you'll publish this because there seems to be a view that somehow disabled people should be afforded more respect than their able bodied counterpart.

Posted by P Ul lde Udderone on 4 January 2013 at 18:41

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