Monday, 10 October 2011

Do The Smart Thing

I do not hate traffic wardens.

There you go, I've said it. I've finally come out and admitted it publicly.

In fact I do have some sympathy for traffic wardens - they are, after all, just enforcing the rules and without them our towns and cities would be even more gridlocked with badly parked cars and obstructed roads and it would be even harder for the law-abiding motorists to get around, let alone get a parking space.

I also have this great working arrangement with traffic wardens whereby I don't park illegally and in return they don't give me parking tickets and fines. It works, and so fare we're getting along great.

What I have less time for, however, are Sutton Council's sneaky, snidey little CCTV enforcement cars (if you can call a Smart car a 'car').

You might have seen this cowardly creations creeping around the roads of Worcester Park, hiding at cowardly distance as their little CCTV camera pops up from the roof to record the fine-inducing footage.

I spotted one in Worcester Park this week, filming a fencing contractor who had no other choice but to pull across a neighbour's driveway in order to unload a large delivery of fencing from the back of the van. Then, this morning, the same van was parked around the corner filming away as builders unloaded supplies for a house on Malden Road in North Cheam.

It all comes down to what you see the role of traffic wardens as being - it is to keep our streets flowing freely or is it to catch people in the act and raise revenue as a result?

In neither of the cases I have seen in recent days were the 'offenders' were causing obstructions or impeding traffic.

Surely, if Sutton Council's enforcement officers really are there to ensure the rules are obeyed strictly and to keep traffic moving they should (as I did this morning) warned the driver to move along, not sneak around filming them from a safe distance away?

I have grudging respect for traffic wardens because they are there on the ground, they are visible. By and large they do their job openly and are man (or woman) to look drivers in the whites of their eyes as they do it.

For Sutton Council's CCTV cars, however, I have no respect. Anyone can sneak about, hiding round corners to raise revenue. That's not fine by me.