Thursday, November 29, 2007

Welcome to Brighton ... here's a parking ticket

... and if you are disabled you are an easy target.
Wayne Dexter took his 79-year-old mother-in-law on a trip in the summer and parked in a disabled bay in Marine Drive, Brighton, so she would not have to walk very far to the beach.
Joan Maggs, from Southend, is disabled and partially sighted so didn't realise she had put her disabled badge the wrong way up on the dashboard as they left.

A ticket was issued.

Now you could see the Parking Attendant's point ... if it wasn't clearly displayed then he can issue BUT as soon as the council are made aware that the badge is a valid one then it should be cancelled.

There has been no attempt to deceive, just a simple error. There can be no argument that the vehicle was 'interfering with traffic flow' or any of the other spurious claims used by councils to justify the national decriminalised parking rip-off.

So, you would think that as soon as Brighton Parking Services were aware they would exercise their discretionary powers and cancel the ticket.

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council, said the attendant had no way of checking the expiry date on the badge which meant the parking ticket issued was considered to be valid.
She said it was policy that fines were issued to all cars which did not clearly display their disabled badge in the front windscreen.

They refused Wayne's appeal AFTER he had given them proof of a valid badge and therefore failed to apply any discretion. We have offered to handle the case on a point of principle (and as you may know, we have been unable to get a Brighton ticket ourselves for some reason here) ... and we will win and at the same time shine a very bright light on Brighton's regime.
Meanwhile, read the report in the Brighton Argus here

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Securicor Van parked too close to the bank ... so he got a parking ticket

Now there are sometimes moments where you just shake your head and think ... what planet?

Is there a subtle conspiracy theory at work here ... playing for the long game? Stay with me on this one.

Persecute cash vans by relentlessly ticketing them for months on end so that their eventual frustration (and increasing fines) means that they park a distance from the bank ( delivery ceases to be commercially viable unless they avoid tickets at all costs) ... enter the armed robber gangs from the 80's now released from chokey to pick off the guards and the money as they walk from a loading bay or pay and display parking space. Easy pickins Guv.

This one is in Blackburn ... a Securicor van gets a ticket for being parked on double yellows too close to the bank. It is claimed that there was a loading bay further down the street.
No common sense ... the law is the law and it was claimed they were causing an obstruction. Well, for one it should be the Police who ticket for an obstruction, not a Parking Attendant as obstruction of the highway is a criminal matter not covered by decriminalised parking.
Secondly, carrying tens of thousands of pounds of cash from a loading bay a distance away from the bank increases the potential for an armed robbery.
But, the council claim the law is the law.

I am sure that there would not be one motorist in the country who would object to the exercising of discretion in such circumstances ... and especially if the consequence of forcing Securicor's guards to walk 50 yards was a massive increase in the potential for an armed robbery ... away from the bank's CCTV.

But a little reminder of the law. The council, as mentioned, is Blackburn ... who ticketed my car in this illegal bay abutted by triple yellow lines, also illegal.

This is the council who has yet to respond to the Freedom of information request as to how many people have been illegally fined at this location.

This is the council who has yet to confirm as to whether the restriction at this location has been corrected to comply with the law, and whether they have suspended ticketing here.

This is the council who claimed that my ticket was cancelled because 'the Parking Attendant got the registration number wrong.'

It should not have been a problem as I was there when he wrote it out ... all he had to do was ask.

I have said that Parking Appeals will handle Securicor's ticket if need be and in doing so highlight the flaws in Blackburn's Penalty Charge Notice, but in the meantime, if anyone has a Blackburn PCN just drop us an e-mail at enquiries@parkingappeals.co.uk and we will tell you what is wrong with it.

It's about time the playing field was levelled a little.

Read the full story in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph here

Monday, November 26, 2007

This is how you can avoid a speeding ticket ...

... but not everyone can pass the 'driving' test.

Two British traffic patrol officers from North Berwick were involved in an unusual incident while checking for speeding motorists on the A1 Great North Road . One of the officers used a hand-held radar device to check the speed of a vehicle approaching over the crest of a hill, and was surprised when the speed was recorded at over 300 mph.

Their radar suddenly stopped working and the officers were not able to reset it.

Just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact latched on to a NATO Tornado fighter jet which was engaged in a low-flying exercise over the Border district, approaching from the North Sea .
Back at police headquarters the chief constable fired off a stiff complaint to the RAF Liaison office.
Back came the reply in true laconic RAF style:
"Thank you for your message, which allows us to complete the file on this incident.
You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Tornado had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked onto, your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it.
Furthermore, an air-to-ground missile aboard the fully-armed aircraft had also automatically locked onto your equipment.
Fortunately the pilot flying the Tornado recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile systems alert status, and was able to override the automated defence system before the missile was launched and your hostile radar installation was destroyed.
Good Day..."
Did it happen or is it an urban myth?

Haringey Council MUST refund motorists

The Muswell Hill Journal recently reported that a fake yellow line had been placed on the highway by Haringey Council ... Fines fury over fake yellow line but it took 5 months for them to admit it a refund motorist Gilbert Dyet, 76 (pictured left).

However, the council claim that they will not voluntarily refund motorists and they will have to appeal individually.

This is simply not acceptable. The income, if there is no valid Traffic Order is 'unlawfully derived' and must be refunded by the council.

One need look no further than the similar situations in other local authority areas where the councils refunded, although somewhat reluctantly, all motorists who had been wrongly fined.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Made in Britain ... not if the EU get their way, but beware the smoke and mirrors


At what point will the penny drop?

When will you reach the tipping point?

When will it become apparent that the 'Common Market' that we were conned into joining in 1972 and the referendum in 1975 ... conned into voting yes to stay in ... that the whole game all the time has been about deceiving the public as to the real intention.

Anyone my age has never had a say ... and I have never given my consent for MY democracy to be surrendered by those with those simply tasked to be the custodians.

Even now as the social implications of 'the free movement of people' start to bite the public at large has still not worked out that the emperor has no clothes. Our politicians in Westminster do ostriches a dis-service. The naive either do not understand or do not want to understand. However, the clever are complicit.

If anyone twenty years ago, even ten years ago, had said that an Englishman would have gone to his grave with a criminal conviction for selling a pound of bananas people would have thought you were nuts.

If anyone had said that we would be paying migrant workers child benefit ... for children living in a different country, and having no means to check you would have said that's crazy. Perhaps how much and how many will be revealed when the missing discs turn up.

The latest attempt to destroy anything British may be seen as a kite flying exercise by Brussels in order to allow Gordon to stand firm and state 'we will not tolerate this' and claim a symbolic victory over Europe, whilst at the same time surrendering further power and sovereignty by ratifying the constitution. Are we really that naive? Are we going to fall for it again? The symbols will all be removed ... but not yet. They will be saved and while we are all cheering the foundations of our nation state democracy are being destroyed with a sledgehammer but no-one can hear the blows.

The story was recently reported here and claims ...
"If implemented it would leave British consumers unable to tell where the contents of their shopping basket come from in the EU. "
However, they do claim in the article that meat would be exempt ... and display a lovely picture of steak.

Forget the smoke and mirrors ... the time has come to have the real, grown up debate on Britain's relationship with the EU because if we do not do it now and sort the matter out once and for all then the social consequences of the festering sore that is our EU membership will become magnified with the economic downturn that is hovering like a spectre on the horizon.

And don't forget ... we have growing communities of migrant workers who are being taxed but have no representation ... they are not allowed to vote in general elections. No taxation without representation will lead to civil unrest.

A country called Europe has been created with no demos ... and without ever having consent. It will end in tears ... but who will be the one to shout loudest that the emporor has no clothes ... but more importantly, how many are listening?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Parking Appeals introduces new car security device

This new car security device is currently being 'product tested' in the States and is awaiting patent approval.

I am sure that the Trunk Monkey system will catch on immediately over here.

However, if you want protection against the parking enforcement industry ... Parking Appeals offers you a simpler solution.

video

Now its NOT the Mayor of Sunderland in a Parking row

... it was someone else.

After receiving a communication (and a Christmas Card) from Les the (Sunderland) Mayor we can now happily clarify the report which had appeared recently in the Keswick Reminder.

The report of a couple of weeks ago has been 'corrected' in the 7th December 2007 edition of the Keswick Reminder headed "Car Parking Issue Clarified" and the newspaper's Editor apologises profusely and unreservedly to Sunderland City Council and 'Les the Mayor' for any inconvenience and distress their newspaper report may have caused.

The picture on the left is of a car as it appeared on the front page of the Keswick Reminder.

The newspaper had intimated in its report that the vehicle belonged to Sunderland City Council and that it was on Mayoral business.

As we blogged the report we asked for confirmation as to whether the report was correct and this has now arrived ... and that the car had been hired by Cumbria County Council for Chairman Alan Toole to travel to and from the Mayor of Allerdale's annual tour.

The driver has since apologised for his inconsiderate parking and states that he will ensure that it will not happen again.


Meanwhile, Les insists that as a pennance for reporting on the Keswick Reminder's error that I join him in the Boxing Day Dip ... and I will endeavour to do so. However, as I am due to go into hospital for ankle reconstruction surgery tomorrow movement way be a little restricted. Perhaps he can pick me up.

I will give Les a ring to ensure that he will hold my crutch but hats off to him for his continued work in his role as Mayor ... he has commanded a great deal of respect from many across the City who have commented on the way he has slipped so easily into the role.



Gizza Job ... Parking Investigation Officer for a London Borough

At least one London Borough is realising that there may be a little problem on the horizon ... so they are looking for someone to spot their illegal signs. My questions to this council (and every other one) is:

Once you identify that a bay is unlawul or non-compliant do you intend to suspend enforcement until it is made lawful?

Has this been council policy to date or has each motorist had to be 'personally fully aware' of your legal requirements to use lawful signs before a PCN would be cancelled?

Do you intend to refund motorists fined in bays that you find are not lawfully marked?



Not had any parking fines ... no worries, we'll still take your car

The 'parking industry' is unregulated and out of control.

Now this time it is a grandmother who has had her car seized ... because of fines racked up by a previous owner. More ...
This is just another example of how the DVLA and the enforcement industry do not and cannot interface to create a streamlined system, and an example of how you, the motorist, are being abused by a system which is ill-conceived and unworkable.

Just wait until the 'persistent offender' legislation kicks in ... a persistent offender being anyone with more than 3 unpaid Penalty Charge Notices ... and we will have more and more nightmare stories like the one above.
If you think it is not going to happen or statistically it won't happen to you ... let us have a look at the accuracy of the DVLA data base (thanks to No2ID for the content below). The response is from a DVLA official (my comments in bold):

"DVLA holds in excess of 36 million vehicle records and 47 million driver records, so as you can imagine, maintaining accuracy is extremely difficult, particularly when the Agency is totally dependant upon the motoring public for much of its information.
There is the first and most fundamental flaw ... entirely dependent on Joe Public for the information it holds. Joe Public forgets to post the letter, leaves it a few days etc. and the 'system' is affected.

DVLA takes its responsibility for providing accurate information to customers and stakeholders very seriously, and is continuously looking for ways to improve the quality of the information it holds. Over the last 6 years, there has been a progressive phasing-in of new initiatives aimed at improving accuracy.
But if Joe Public is the one who causes the system the most problems then there needs to be root and branch reform of the whole way vehicle registrations operate. Perhaps the US system where you own the registration number and it moves with you to your vehicle ... and local licensing centres control the transfer ... but it is politically sensitive as that could put thousands of jobs in Swansea under threat.

These include the introduction of Statutory Off Road Notification in 1998, the mandatory production of a registration document at licensing in 2003 and Continuous Registration in January 2004.

However, a single measure/level of accuracy is not appropriate because of the different measuring processes used by DVLA. The following information will give you an indication of how difficult it is to quote a single accuracy percentage. As a benchmark, DVLA conducted an Accuracy Survey in 2003. The results of the survey showed that 68% of the records on the vehicle database were perfectly correct in every aspect.
I love it when they play the percentage game. That means that 32% were not ... that is 15,040,000 driver records were not perfectly correct.

A further 22% contained spelling mistakes in name and address details or had out of date postcodes. However, these errors are minor in nature and, more importantly, do not stop mail being delivered or prevent police or manufacturers from tracing vehicle keepers in the event of an accident or a vehicle safety recall.

This, in effect, amounts to a 90% traceability level using the information on the vehicle database, which is extremely important in order for DVLA to meet its key objectives of helping to improve road safety and reduce vehicle crime.
90% traceability level means 10% are not traceable ... 4,700,000 vehicles / drivers. Now it becomes a concerns for enforcement agencies ... they cannot catch up with fine evaders BUT if you buy one of those 4.7m cars and correctly register it ... they will now catch up ... and you will be inconvenienced by either having to prove your innocence or having to recover an impounded car as illustrated by the story above.

Incidentally, the 2003 survey indicated that the main cause of inaccuracy on the vehicles database (as much as 10%) was as a result of vehicle keepers not informing DVLA when they sold/scrapped their vehicle or changed their address. Additionally, DVLA carries out a monthly monitoring exercise of the accuracy of information at data capture. The results show that DVLA staff consistently meets an accuracy level in excess of 97.5% each month. As you can see, there are 3 quite separate accuracy percentages; 68% perfect records, 90% traceable records and 97.5% records accurate at data capture, all of which are valid percentages, which are used for different purposes."

Linda Weaver
ACGB1
You have been warned ...

Don't touch the car

A little light relief to start the day

video

Monday, November 19, 2007

Free Parking in Westminster ... for the Prince AND the Pauper

Prince William escaped a parking fine despite leaving his car on a double yellow line as he partied into the early hours in an exclusive nightclub.

The British royal was inside the Embassy nightclub in London's Mayfair in the early hours of Saturday morning when a Parking Attendant was about to issue a parking ticket - only to be dismissed by one of his royal police protection officers.

Westminster Council's parking services, CP, said that unmarked police cars can park on double-yellow lines while on official business and police sources say royal protection officers are always on duty if their charges are in public.

But a spokesman for the Prince has refused to comment on the incident, saying, "We never discuss security issues."

So, the Prince has free parking in Westminster' cos he's a Royal.

Now meet the Pauper, Neil Herron, who also appears to have free parking in Westminster because the Parking Attendants refuse to issue to the F1 NED vehicle when he's about.

Parking Attendants claim they have other business to attend to or simply walk past the vehicle. Often when the vehicle is parked up you don't see a Parking Attendant anywhere in the vicinity.

So, if you are the Prince or the Parking Pauper you get free parking in Westminster.

For everyone else you can either marry into royalty OR
visit www.parkingappeals.co.uk and we will tell you the secrets that the local authorities don't want you to know.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Its Friday ... Being British means ...

Being British!

Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry, a Turkish kebab or a Chinese take-away on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV.


And the most British thing of all?

Suspicion of anything foreign.

Oh and...... Only in Britain ... can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in Britain ... do supermarkets make sick people walk all the way to the back of the shop to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in Britain .. do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a DIET coke.

Only in Britain ... do banks leave both doors open and chain the pens to the counters.

Only in Britain ... would the Government make it a crime to sell bananas by the pound while the Prime Minister announces the birthweight of his son as 6lb 12oz.

Only in Britain ... do we leave cars worth thousands of pounds on the drive and lock our junk and cheap lawn mower in the garage.

Only in Britain ... do we use answering machines to screen calls then have call waiting so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place.

Only in Britain ... are there disabled parking places in front of a skating rink .

NOT TO MENTION

... 3 Brits die each year testing if a 9v battery works on their tongue

... 142 Brits were injured in 1999 by not removing all pins from new shirts.

... 58 Brits are injured each year by using sharp knives instead of screwdrivers.

... 31 Brits have died since 1996 by watering their Christmas tree while the fairy lights were plugged in.

... 19 Brits have died in the last 3 years believing that Christmas decorations were chocolate.

... British Hospitals reported 4 broken arms last year after cracker pulling accidents.

... 101 people since 1999 have had broken parts of plastic toys pulled out of the soles of their feet.

... 18 Brits had serious burns in 2000 trying on a new jumper with a lit cigarette in their mouth.

... A massive 543 Brits were admitted to A & E in the last two years after opening bottles of beer with their teeth.

... 5 Brits were injured last year in accidents involving out of control Scalextric cars.

And finally.........In 2000 eight Brits cracked their skull whilst throwing up into the toilet.

IF YOU'RE PROUD TO BE BRITISH (WHICH YOU BLOODY WELL SHOULD BE!) SEND THIS ON ...

IF YOU CAN ADD TO THE LIST THEN PLEASE DO ...

Thanks to Stan for this one.

It's supposed to be easy getting a parking ticket in Brighton and Westminster

... but after 4 hours of trying in Brighton in an unmarked car and 2 days in F1 NED in Westminster we were forced to concede defeat.

While F1 NED was parking in and around Westminster I took a train ride down from London to assist two local parking campaigners in Brighton in an attempt to get a Penalty Charge Notice ... and then show how easy it is to appeal.

First we parked Ray St Clair's car in a location and went and met up with Mike Gurney from Glowzone who we assisted in getting a High Court winding up order on his business quashed over unpaid parking tickets .... due to Brighton's PCNs being non-compliant.

Ray and his associates have also had a number of PCNs and they were also cancelled after our intervention.

We went for coffee ... nearly two hours later no tickets.

Off we went to a different location ... this time Gardner Street. The loading bay was non-compliant on a number of points and we sat and waited ... and waited ... and waited.

No Parking Attendants even ventured into the street. It appears as though word was out.

Meanwhile, back in London F1 NED was having no success in Westminster. Parking Attendants walk past without stopping or log the vehicle and never come back.
Cars are ticketed in front and behind. When we drive off cars are ticketed in the same place.
Seems like all you need is double yellow lines down the side of the car and you are either invincible or invisible.
After the Dispatches programme we seem to be untouchable ... so come on Westminster and Brighton ... what are you scared of?

Gateshead Council in a muddle over parking tickets

Gateshead Council began Decriminalised Parking Enforcement in July of this year and have, so far issued over 2,500 Penalty Charge Notices.
The Secretary of State allowed them permission to do so after their application to the Department for Transport was granted in the form of The Road Traffic (Permitted Parking Area and Special Parking Area) (Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead) Order 2007

The Order designates the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, other than the excepted roads, as both a permitted parking area and a special parking area in accordance with Schedule 3 to the Road Traffic Act 1991.


All a bit complicated?

Actually it is quite simple ... it means it is no longer an 'offence' to contravene a parking restriction. It is now a civil matter and therefore a contravention and not an offence is alleged to have occurred.

The explanatory note to the legislation states:

"This Order amends, in relation to England and Wales, Schedule 3 to the Road Traffic Act 1991 (permitted and special parking areas outside London) with respect to parking contraventions which give rise to a civil liability by the imposition of a penalty charge instead of being dealt with as criminal offences. In permitted parking areas it will no longer be an offence to contravene an order under section 35(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 relating to an off-street parking place or a provision of an order relating to an on-street parking place included by virtue of section 53 of that Act. In special parking areas certain contraventions of temporary traffic orders and loading area orders under the Act of 1984 cease to be criminal offences."

However, Gateshead's tickets are issued in an envelope which states... "details the offence are included in the envelope."

This therefore misrepresents the legal position and implies that the matter is criminal.
At the Traffic Law Seminar in Leeds in July 2003 councils were told by the National Parking Adjudication Service to 'mind their language.' Parking matters are no longer 'offences' ... they are contraventions. Furthermore, you cannot use the word 'fine' it must be civil penalty.
Indeed, in the High Court decision Barnet v The Parking Adjudicator Justice Jackson pointed out that 'decriminalised contraventions are not 'offences' and have not been so since 1991.'
The error is further compounded in the Newcastle Journal by Maureen Kesteven, the council’s strategic director of legal and corporate services, who states:
“We have made a careful study of the case law referred to by Mr Herron and we are entirely satisfied that the Fixed Penalty Notices we issue are fully compliant with the legislation."
Perhaps Maureen Kesteven needs to pull out a couple of law books ... Fixed Penalty Notices are issued by the Police or Traffic Wardens and relate to criminal offences. Gateshead Council issues PENALTY CHARGE NOTICES ... CIVIL !!!
However, she need not just take my word for it. Harrow Council (also operate DPE) state on their website:
"Parking tickets issued by the council are called Penalty Charge Notices or PCNs. They require payment of a penalty, and do not result in a criminal record or points on a driving licence. They are separate from Fixed Penalty Notices, issued for criminal offences by the police and traffic wardens. "
So now we have established that Gateshead Council have potentially prejudiced EVERY motorist issued with a Penalty Charge Notice by claiming an offence has been committed then they must refund the money in EVERY instance.
It's not difficult to get it right ... and when you are taking money off people because you allege that they have erred then it is essential that everything is right, not nearly right or about right.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Beware Bogus Parking Attendants

By allowing 'parking' enforcement on private land to go unregulated it was only a matter of time before some would begin to really exploit the situation.

Motorists visiting North Manchester Hospital have recently been targeted by a company called Careless Intentions ... and issued with £90 fines.
Trouble is that the Hospital Trust have no contract with Careless Intentions and therefore they have no authority to issue tickets.
How many motorists have suffered?
Anyone issued with a ticket by this company MUST call the Police.
If they are operating any other car parks then they must not be allowed to access any other registered keepers details from DVLA and must immediately be struck off the DVLA list.
Unregulated, uncontrolled ... a licence to extort money from unsuspecting motorists. It is time that the whole practice of private land enforcement was either regulated or scrapped.
The story in full can be read here in the Middleton Guardian

Belfast Traders start to suffer in parking clampdown

Looks like the authorities in Northern Ireland know that they are onto a nice little earner ... but at what cost.

The short termist view of cash to day results in crippled businesses tomorrow, an experience borne out across England and Wales.

To issue 160,000 tickets a year doesn't mean that motorists in Northern Ireland have suddenly become bad parkers ... it means that local authorities and enforcement companies have just struck gold as they are allowed to keep the money raised from parking tickets.

Read the report in the Belfast Telegraph here

Monday, November 12, 2007

Parking Appeals on Dispatches ... with some startling revelations

Tonight on Dispatches on Channel 4 at 8pm ... we attempt to get a parking ticket in Westminster.

A couple of weeks ago we filmed in London for the programme with the F1 NED vehicle in an attempt to show Parking Attendants issuing tickets in unlawfully marked bays.

Trouble was that we couldn't get a ticket BUT we record a Parking Attendant alleging that Westminster City Council was obtaining money unlawfully.

First we tried Norris Street in an illegally marked bay. Normally happy hunting ground for Parking Attendants but it was nearly 90 minutes before one appeared. I was standing over the other side of the street with a coffee when I observed the PA take notes and begin to walk away.

I challenged her and asked if she was going to issue a Penalty Charge Notice but she replied that she had just been taking down details of the website in case she needed to appeal.

She would not issue a PCN and when it was explained that the bay was unlawful she said that she was aware because 'she had seen something on the internet.'

We then relocated to Suffolk Place ... opposite New Zealand House where the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service is based.
The street is 'Pay by Text / Phone' both sides but there is also a pay and display machine still operating. The day previously the F1 NED vehicle had acquired a PCN at this location ... for failure to pay by text even though a pay and display ticket had been purchased and was clearly visible in the window.

The doorman of the nearby hotel had stuck a notice on the machine because he had seen so many motorists conned in a similar fashion.

However, Herron with vehicle and crew meant scarcity of Parking Attendants. We purchased a pay and display ticket ... and waited ... and waited.

Hours passed and then eventually a Parking Attendant appeared but could not be coaxed into issuing. He claimed that they had reported the fact that the machine was still accepting money and Westminster had been asked weeks ago to remove it but their requests had been ignored. They had continued however, to issue tickets ... but today, with cameras present he declined.

If you have suffered the same fate then drop us a line at enquiries@parkingappeals.co.uk







Richmond Council banks over £150,000 from former terrorists activities

Last week we reported that Richmond Council had banked over £10,000 from a former terrorist who had been employed as a Parking Attendant, but that was based on figures released by the council for his last three months employment.

Now we reveal how much the council banked while he operated for over three years.

Mustapha Boutarfa, 32, was arrested by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad in 1996 and extradited from Britain to France two years later. He was subsequently jailed for his involvement in a bomb attack on the Paris Metro - which killed eight people and wounded 80.

However, he managed to get back into Britain and gained employment as a Parking Attendant with NCP Services.

It is reported that when his employer, NCP Services, learned of his background - three years after he first started work - it suspended him, saying it could "understand public concern about this matter".

Now, following a Freedom of Information request, we have received details of the total number and amount of tickets issued by Mr. Boutarfa ... and it is quite staggering (shown in the table below).

What is even more staggering is the council's excuse as to why they are not going to refund the money.

No refunds because ... being a terrorist ...
"does not constitute grounds for cancellation of penalty charge notices issued by him ... the parking regulations do not allow this."
Parveen Bindra, Legal Services Department, Richmond Council

Not sure whether the legislators would have factored this into the equation when drafting the Notice to Owner.

Grounds for cancellation (tick relevant box)
[] The contravention did not occur
[] The Traffic Order was invalid
[] I was not the keeper at the time of the contravention
[] We are a hire firm
[] The vehicle was taken without my consent
[] The Parking Attendant was or used to be a terrorist

Regardless of the claim that it 'does not constitute grounds for appeal' it is clear that there has been a gross dereliction of duty and Richmond have a vicarious liability for the failings of their contractor ... who failed to even undertake the most basic of checks. They have also benefitted from 'unjust enrichment' which could precipitate a legal action or complaint to the District Auditor.

I am sure that someone will wish to challenge Richmond on this point.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sunderland City Centre Exclusion Zone ... another ill-conceived project.

Sunderland City Council's department of bizarre ideas has come up with another classic. This time 'someone' has decided that an 'exclusion zone' will be created in the City Centre between 12 midnight and 5am.

The map on the left shows the extent of the zone.
During this period there will be no vehicular access ... not even for taxis.

You can read the recent report in the Sunderland Echo here
Businesses and taxi firms are incensed over the proposals which are ill-conceived and illogical.

The zone will have the effect of forcing late night revellers to walk to the outside of the zone in order to picked up. To the west of the zone is a dual carriageway. To the south of the zone there is a hackney rank which will be clogged in minutes and not able to accommodate private hire pick-ups.
As there is no access to the north of the zone that leaves the east ... the furthest point from the main outspill points from pubs and clubs at that time.

Now we have established the physical and directional aspect let us look at the safety issues.

Vulnerable persons including disabled and women now have to walk up to 300 yards through dark streets with rowdy adults milling around looking for take-aways pubs and clubs and taxis.


Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the authorities have a duty to minimise not increase the potential for crime and disorder.

6 Formulation and implementation of strategies
(1) The responsible authorities for a local government area shall, in accordance with the provisions of section 5 above and this section, formulate and implement, for each relevant period, a strategy for the reduction of crime and disorder in the area.

The Police and the Council have to have conducted a review and produced a report detailing how, by removing vehicles especially taxis from the City Centre at this time of night will have the effect of reducing crime and disorder. I am sure that this will make interesting reading as it goes against the grain of all other city strategies, including that of the Police, which is to extricate as many people from city centre areas as quickly as possible to prevent disorder.

JULIE BENTLEY, chief executive of personal safety charity the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, criticised the proposals, claiming they "make no sense".

She said: "We would always advise people, whenever possible, to book a cab in advance to collect them from their final venue ... to prevent them from having to walk the streets to get a cab."This scheme would appear to make this impossible. We'd be concerned about any such plans which would cause people, who are perhaps alone and have been drinking too much, having to travel some distance in order to catch a cab."

Jim Hannan, of the City of Sunderland Private Hire Operators' Association, which represents Sunderland's 600-plus private hire drivers, said:

"Young and vulnerable groups could fall foul to all kinds of mischief as they make their way from Holmeside and Green Terrace to the top of Park Lane," said Mr Hannan."Public disorder incidents will rise within this area and in the long term people that cannot get picked up at, or near, the venue will vote with their feet and spend their weekends and money in South Shields or Newcastle."This I'm sure will have a detrimental effect on the vibrant evening economy that the council claims we enjoy."

We are sure that this controversial proposal will attract more national publicity and bring more derision on the city and the night time revellers will be driven to South Shields and Newcastle for a night out (and driven back by out of town cabbies) taking more money away from the local economy.

Nice one Sunderland!




Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Free Parking in Poole ... council suspends enforcement

Remember the picture of the Mayor's car parking 'illegally' in Poole ... read the story here ... and we pointed out that it wasn't parked 'illegally' because the Loading Bay it was parked in was illegal ... and therefore constituted free parking.

Well, a reporter from the Dorset Daily Echo went out and confirmed that the Loading Bay 'just didn't measure up.'
As a result the council have confirmed that enforcement in the bay has been suspended.
Richard Hein, parking services manager at the Borough of Poole, said: "We are currently conducting a borough-wide audit of all traffic regulations orders in Poole to ensure all parking bays, signs and lines comply with existing legislation.
"The council does not pursue normal enforcement procedures where parking areas are identified as failing to meet appropriate guidelines.
"We will carry out an audit of the Kingland Road service road as a matter of priority and have informed our parking services staff not to enforce there until this matter is resolved."
So there we have it. Another council caught out ignoring the legislation ... and yet still issuing fines. Will be checking out their application to the Department for Transport to see who was responsible for telling the Department for Transport that all the lines and signs would be correct and in force when they began Decriminalised Parking Enforcement after being granted permission by the Secretary of State in 2002.
Time for a public enquiry yet considering the level of local authority misconduct across the country?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Scottish Parliament admits Decriminalised Parking doesn't work



...Traffic Wardens are better than Parking Attendants.

In a report by theScottish Parliament 'Tackling the Abuse of Off-Street Parking for People With Disabilities in Scotland' it reveals that the public are more likely to comply with off-street parking requirements in areas which have not been decriminalised. Furthermore, the level of abuse is lower.

An RAC spokesman said their own research had led to similar conclusions:

"Nowadays, many people feel that they're filling a council's coffers, and we have research that shows private parking attendants, like the ones many councils employ, come bottom of tables in terms of trust among motorists."

We would hazard a gues that a similar study for on-street compliance will arrive at the same conclusion.

More and more motorists are seeing Decriminalised Parking Enforcement as simply a stealth tax on the motorist and as more and more examples of abuse by councils are revealed ( enforcing illegal bays, non-compliant paperwork etc.) then the suspicuious, cynical motoring public will see through the claims that DPE is simply about keeping the streets clear and traffic moving.

When the number of tickets issued increases by a factor of ten when a local authority goes across to DPE and the council are allowed to keep the money and private contractors reap a rich reward from the lucrative contract then is it any wonder more and more motorists are seeing through this scam?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Police refuse to arrest a 'criminal' ... Bolton plunged into the Twilight Zone.

... to allow him to seek legal advice first!

Now if we were telling you that a theft had been reported to the Police but the Police were refusing to make an arrest until the thief contacted lawyers to see if stealing was a crime then you would think the world had been turned upside down.

Now consider this ... in the Bolton Twilight Zone all is not as it seems. You are about to enter another dimension.
A criminal complaint has been made to Police by Barry Moss in Bolton regarding the issuing of fines in unlawful bays. The Department for Transport has confirmed that the bays do not comply with the law.

Mr Moss says the council is guilty of misfeasance - wilful misconduct by a public officer.

But police have put their investigation on hold while the council seeks legal advice.

Supt Andy Durkin said: "The council do not accept at face value what Mr Moss is saying and are seeking legal advice.
"Until such time that advice is clear I am not going to add a third dimension to the situation."
More ...

Third dimension? This is becoming more like the Twilight Zone by the minute! The Great Illusion ... clear evidence of a crime ... motorists being fined in locations where the council knows that the restriction is unlawful ... after being told by the Department for Transport but the Police will wait until the council have taken advice first before they begin an investigation?
Back to the thief ... if he says that he does not accept on face value what the victim is saying can he take advice first?
I didn't realise this was how it was supposed to work.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Two tier Parking Fine Con ... smoke, mirrors and Nostradamus

Well, we did tell you that the differential penalties introduced in London 'to make fining people fairer' was nothing more than a 'smoke and mirrors' operation to increase the motorists' guilt factor by the shroud waving local authorities in order for them to have moral justification for fining more for what they class as more 'serious' offences.

Would you believe that the revenue has gone up?

Can't be a deterrent then ... simply another way to stealth tax more money from the motoring public.

Read here how Islington Council has raked in a cool extra £million.

The Islington Gazette has discovered that 77 per cent of all tickets issued since the change in July have been set at the £120 rate, while only 23 per cent of drivers paid the lesser amount.

When it adopted the scheme, Islington Council said "residents will agree that this is exactly the kind of fair and proportionate approach Islington needs".

It added that this was part of a "common sense" approach.

Common sense can now be labelled 'a nice little earner.'

Just watch the ears prick up across the country ... and watch all the councils follow the common sense moral justification approach.

One doesn't need to be Nostradamus to predict the future.










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