Tuesday, May 10, 2011
CCTV Not So SmartCar ticking timebomb
Tips 'n' icebergs an' all that!
I anticipate that many councils will be desperately checking their documentation to see whether they've blundered. Hard to justify censuring motorists if a council is breaking the law itself. A word of warning to those caught out ... just be open and transparent and admit the error and accept the consequences. There will be no super-injunctions available to council officers. The British public are a pretty forgiving lot when it comes to people admitting mistakes and saying sorry. They will however fight tooth and nail to expose those who deceive and lie.
Campaigner says Wirral CCTV spy car is 'illegal'
Monday 9th May 2011
THE campaigner who made national news by forcing a London council to take its CCTV "spy cars" off the road because of incorrect paperwork says Wirral must do the same.
Nigel Wise discovered discrepancies in the registration of cameras on two of Richmond and Twickenham council's Smart cars after being fined for parking last August.
Following his sucess in London, Mr Wise sent a Freedom of Information request to Wirral demanding to see their spy car paperwork.
Now he says he's found the same mistakes in Wirral's certificates - which would possibly invalidate fines.
Wirral Council has denied this however, and insists its certification is watertight.
Mr Wise successfully had his £100 fine overturned at a parking tribunal hearing last month after he revealed the Vehicle Certification Agency had not declared the actual camera that pictured him parked in the road as an “approved device”.
After the hearing, the council blamed the VCA for the administrative error and said all the council’s camera cars were “correctly licensed”.
But it was forced to make a U-turn and pull the cars off the road last week for officers to check documentation.
A Richmond council spokesman said officers would now go through documents with “a fine-toothed comb” and were looking into whether they would need to refund motorists.
It could have to hand back more than £1m in fines.
Mr Wise contacted the Globe after reading our website report on Friday that Wirral Council had confirmed certification of their car was all in order.
He said: " I think Wirral Council is in for a shock, a bombshell.
"The law clearly states that a council must be in a position to prove that the camera is an 'approved device.'
"Wirral Council would be unable to prove that - as no camera whatsoever is named on Wirral's certificates.
"Nor do they have the maker's name of the system used to record and review pictures.
"It is these elements that require certification. Not the car itself."
Mr Wise added: "This bare fact alone would invalidate any Wirral CCTV car fine or penalty that is taken to appeal.
"It is an inescapable fact that Wirral ought to now take their vehicles off the road forthwith pending the rectification of their inadequate and incomplete certificates."
He urged anyone who has recently received a penalty issued by the Wirral CCTV car to appeal.
The certificates have been seen by the Globe.
The Smart Car is the only item registered. There appears to be no mention of cameras or recording systems.
But a Wirral Council spokesman argued that the two cases are different.
He said: "It is our understanding that Richmond had made changes to its equipment which may have invalidated the original licences.
"Our equipment is the same as was originally approved by the Home Office. We are happy the licence is all in order."
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