Just spotted in one of this week’s freebies (the Bedfordshire Times & Citizen) that the local Council is to splash out £100,000 on yet more snooping devices… adding to the constantly growing list of such stuff that already burdens our over-surveilled society.
Apparently this is a thing called a “Roadflow mobile camera” that they’re proposing to bung in a Council car to patrol outside schools. Not a police car be it noted, but a Council vehicle. Seems the plan is to monitor the parking of vehicles outside schools, with the intention of nabbing motorists that are parking illegally.
They say its to deal with an “anti-social menace” caused by such illegal parking that they say represents an “absolute disregard for the safety of the children.” Ah yes. So its nothing whatsoever to do with the extra dosh (quoted as being somewhere in the region of £2,600-£3,150 per year) that they’re hoping to raise from parking fines?
Well, obviously not. Cos if it were then it’d take (by my possibly faulty reckoning… for I’ve never been very handy with figures) at least 31+ years just to recover the initial outlay. And that’s not allowing for the wages of the people manning it. Or other admin costs. Well, no doubt all the Council Tax payers of the area will be highly delighted by the Council blowing their hard-earned money in this way.
And is the camera likely to last that long, I can’t avoid asking myself. Or will it need to be replaced in, what, say another 5-10 years? At even more expense. Hmm.
Just what’s needed in these difficult economic times.
But, and this is the thing my mind keeps coming back to… these cameras are going to be monitored by Council people are they? Outside schools. Where kids are. So does this mean kids are going to be caught on camera as well? Now I wonder how parents will be feeling about some faceless anonymous Council snooper capturing their kids on camera when parents themselves are all too frequently prevented from or hindered in photographing their own children?
And presumably these anonymous Council people will be fully trained/qualified and, hopefully, trustworthy around children?
In fairness it is mentioned that motorists will be informed of this mobile snooping operation by the erection of road signs at the appropriate places… but how many non-motoring parents will actually notice those signs? Thus being unaware that their kids could appear in camera footage.
What I’m actually seeing here is yet more evidence that our society is encouraging of the deployment of cameras by local authorities, agencies of the State and suchlike, whilst at the same time hindering to an ever greater extent the activities of ordinary innocent photographers.
Unfortunately, the freebie reporting this story doesn’t appear to have included it in their on-line edition so I can’t provide a link to it… not at the moment! But they do invite local residents to contribute their views on the matter via email… just send ’em to editorial(at)timesandcitizen.co.uk
(Also published at yet another blog)