Essex: Council leader Neil Stock speaks out over CCTV car proposals

A COUNCIL leader has spoken out about proposals to introduce patrolling CCTV cars outside schools.

Outgoing Tendring District Council leader Neil Stock has called for evidence to prove that CCTV cars will solve parking problems.

North Essex Parking Partnership –which is run by Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council – is discussing plans to introduce CCTV cars to tackle the problem of parents parking dangerously outside schools.

Mr Stock said: “I am totally against it and believe that there are better ways of tackling parking problems outside schools.

“I believe that we need to find ways of educating people and explaining to them why their parking habits are creating a danger.

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“The fines will be punishing them for that occasion, but does it really resolve anything or encourage them to change their ways in the long run?” Mr Stock said that he made his feelings known at a partnership meeting last week. “I asked for it to be put in the minutes that I opposed the idea and I want to see where it has been tried elsewhere, as well as evidence to show that these methods have been successful,” he said.

The North Essex Parking Partnership has been investigating funding options for a CCTV car.

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Bailiff company Equita has proposed to supply and operate a CCTV car within the North Essex Parking Partnership area.

In the partnership meeting, committee members heard that Equita could be paid half of every �35 penalty charge notice they issue.

As well as patrolling outside schools the CCTV car could also cover clearways, pedestrian crossings, bus stops, taxi ranks and loading restrictions.

About �63,000 would be needed to cover the vehicle and software costs if the decision was made to purchase the car.

The meeting also heard that more than 1,500 penalty notices would have to be issued before the partnership’s finances break even. The partnership has said that covering the 300 schools in the Tendering District area is ‘challenging’.

Civil enforcement officers (CEOs) can currently only visit each school once per term on average.

The partnership has said when the officers are present vehicle parking is ‘exemplary’ but without the council staff ‘chaos reigns.’ The partnership claim an additional eight CEOS would need to be employed to cover the same area as one CCTV car.

The car would feature automatic number plate recognition technology which could read a vehicle’s numberplate. All the information captured by the CCTV car would then be reviewed by a CEO officer.

The North Essex Parking Partnership was unavailable for comment.

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