Wi-Fi CCTV cracks down on rogue parking

Wi-Fi CCTV cracks down on rogue parking

Summary: London's City of Westminster can now identify parking offences using its IP-based CCTV network without the need for human intervention

TOPICS: Security

London's City of Westminster is to crack down on rogue drivers by using its Wi-Fi-based CCTV network.

Westminster City Council is busy installing networked security cameras that can recognise parking permits and the number plates of offending vehicles.

The system means parking tickets can be issued without a human witnessing the offence in person.

The parking crackdown is the most significant application to be deployed on the Westminster's Wi-Fi network, which it has built over the past year with BT. "Parking enforcement is the killer application that everyone is looking for," said Vic Baylis, director of services at Westminster City Council.

Baylis said the network could be used in two ways to tackle illegal parking.

The cameras can now recognise parking permits and their validity, the number plate of the offending vehicle and the parking restrictions on the road in question. They can also clock the time vehicles enter timed parking spaces. Images of every parking offence are collated and then viewed by a human operator for verification before parking tickets are despatched.

If a driver complains that their ticket is unjust, their letter is scanned and viewed next to the original CCTV image by the operator.

The council also employs six people who permanently monitor CCTV images. If an operator spots a parking offence, they are expected to make radio contact with the nearest enforcement officer, who will issue the ticket.

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The council has so far deployed 25 wireless CCTV cameras, and it has plans to add 10 more each week, up to a total of about 250. Eventually, it intends to be able to view 80 percent of the area, excluding the royal parks. It says that target could be reached by mid-2008.

Baylis said the Council's complete investment in the network should pay for itself in two to three years.

Other applications that the Council is considering include giving staff mobile access to their data, enabling streetlamps so they can communicate when the bulb needs replacing, and connecting parking meters so staff are informed when they are full or out of order.

Topic: Security

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  • Where's the flexibility

    It seems to me that a driver could be ticketed for just stopping to drop someone off, or to figure out where he's going, or .......

    In my recent office, in Westminster, there were several parking spaces within the building. However it was necessary to stop the car, get out and open the roller shutter before being able to park inside the building. Something similar on exit. Parking is prohibited in the street outside. Will this lead to 2 parking tickets per day?

    How does a system like this exercise judgement. Is one second enough to commit an offence. I do have a friend who was done for literally a few seconds before the end of the congestion charge period and because she didn't know she had 'offended' she also incurred a penalty for non payment. The few seconds before the end of the charge period were clearly shown on her penalty notice, but the system just ground on anyway.
    The Former Moley
  • There will be no flexibility by design - Its Tax raising by entrapment

    They only want money. Fairness, justice etc were killed by Thatcher and the establishment couldn't care less about any of those criteria or morality, only if its legal extortion.

    They can do everything from cynical trap and fine to shoot you dead as long as its behind a warrant card or a statute. Just avoid Westminster.


    And I was fined for 18.29.40 when 18.30 was the deadline - the Radio time pips had pipped for the 18.30 news. Same answer your friend got.
  • Big Brother?

    Fortunately, I do not live in London and nor will I ever do so with the sort of surveillance levels that Westminster City Council is proposing. It is about time that protest was made against this practice by councils such as Westminster, before such technology and practice becomes nationwide.

    Another reader mentioned the "money-grabbing" aspect of this new policy and that too is certainly a matter for concern. As is the total inability of non-human agents to show disretion.

    In addition, cannot wi-fi transmitting devices be disrupted by other local transmitters?