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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

 

Big brother and the end of the Traffic Warden?

If you believe what was written in the Guardian recently, new technology may mean that yours truly had better go looking for more stable employment. Recently released (10th November) CCTV Licence plate recognition software could just put me and these aching feet out of a job.

Don’t start cheering just yet though. You lot might have thought that we were bad or heartless; remember how people used to whine about Police speed traps before speed cameras were brought in? Now there will be no hiding place. Leave your vehicle on an active restriction, even for a moment, and a PCN will be in the post almost before you’ve come out of the shop.

What happens at present in our district is more like a game. A person stops by an ATM or shop, pops in for a ‘few moments’ leaving their vehicle unattended. If they’re unlucky, one of us Parking Enforcement Officers trundles along, takes down their vehicles number, then has to wait for five minutes to be sure no loading is taking place (Unless the offender is in a disabled bay etc, in which case it goes straight on the windscreen.) before handing out a penalty charge notice. It’s reasonably sporting, the offender gets a chance to leg it before the five minutes are up and so escape a fine for contravening the parking regulations and the traffic keeps moving.

With the new cameras will come no mercy, no human face to wheedle, cajole, or insult. Science fiction? Nope, first installations (On bus routes since 2002) are already working in Camden, Lambeth, London and Haringey, others will be up and running by late 2005 / early 2006 in Newham, Croydon, Barking & Dagenham. Rest assured other parts of the country will follow shortly.

I know that our Local Authority is interested and will be introducing some form of the technology by 2006 / 7. I’m sure they aren’t the only ones. Ho hum, looks like another career change is on the cards. No use emigrating either, the bloody things are going to be everywhere.

Now where’d I put my CV?

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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