Traffic Wardens in the London Borough of Westminster are being offered store card points in exchange for dreaming up creative ways of catching motorists and issuing tickets.
Wardens were sent a notifications by parking contractor NSL offering them points redeemable in both Argos and Homebase for suggesting new areas to patrol/catch motorists and achieving "above beat average" performance.
Keen to show that they're not rewarding wardens with points just because they can, Westminster council said the points were for good work and accuracy. However, the council is giving points for work. This, by definition, is a reward.
Westminster also commented that the wardens are being encouraged to be more accurate and not make mistakes when doling out £60 slips of misery. Again, this sounds quite a bit like THEY'RE HANDING OUT REWARDS.
Lee Rowley, Westminster City Council cabinet member for parking and transport, had this to say: "It is illegal to incentivise staff to give out tickets and we don't allow it. We only want tickets to be issued when there is a proper reason, backed up by evidence, to do so. NSL have assured the council that the whole point of this scheme is to stop tickets being issued incorrectly."
The rewards aren't the only thing landing Westminster council in hot water – there are also plans to charge £4.80 an hour to park on evenings and Sundays. The 'nightlife tax', as its known, has been widely protested by many politicians, but Westminster council won't back down.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Stephen Hammond MP commented: "There is genuine surprise that Westminster council are claiming that this will help ease congestion. Many Londoners will think that it looks like another tax on entering central London... Westminster will need to show that this is not just a cash-raising exercise which could well be challengeable."
Westminster council says the scheme is perfectly legal and is in place to tackle congestion and make the area safer. The council claims the extra money gleaned from rinsing drivers will be pumped into public transport. Though if busses stop for too long, will they be ticketed as well?