New evidence reveals council's driver-targeting tactics

New evidence reveals council's driver-targeting tactics

An episode of Panorama to be aired tonight on BBC 1 highlights a collection of damning new evidence that reveals how councils are exploiting CCTV technology to 'sting' motorists with unfair fines.

A Freedom of Information request has prompted the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to release hundreds of emails that expose officials relishing in the number of traffic fines that are being issued.
Among the comments in the emails are: "Another record month, guys. Well done"; "Another increase ... holidays, as expected, bring back the traffic"; "Another good month last month. That's despite the system problems we had. So well done to everyone."

The Panorama special also reveals how surveillance cameras are being set up to catch cars performing U-turns and being stuck in box junctions, usually accompanied by poor or ambiguous signage as part of a "target-based, revenue-raising culture".

One particular yellow box junction is highlighted in the programme as it has managed to pull in around £2.7 million a year by capturing drivers on camera before sending them a £130 fine.

Despite refuting the claim that the technology is being exploited, a note to the head of parking services about the council's procurement of specialist 'close circuit TV equipment' said: "Aim of project: To increase parking revenue (target: additional £5m.)"

The council said the email was from a management trainee temporarily seconded to the council and 'wrongly' suggested the aim was to raise revenue.

Panorama says the council is, "exploiting a sophisticated new camera system to fine motorists for moving traffic offences, such as stopping in a yellow box junction or making a banned turn".

Panorama: Traffic Fines – Highway Robbery? airs tonight on BBC1 at 7.30pm
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