The London Borough of Havering has introduced Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to crack down on dangerous driving and parking during the school run. This is the first pilot scheme of its kind to use Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) making anti-social driving a criminal offence in areas around schools. To enforce the new scheme, a Videalert CCTV-based traffic enforcement and management system has been installed as part of an initial pilot contract awarded to OpenView Security Solutions.
Cllr Osman Dervish, cabinet member for community safety at the London Borough of Havering, believes that the deterrent of potential criminal proceedings is the best way to improve road safety during term time. He commented: “Poor, irresponsible behaviour from a minority of parents created an unsafe environment for the majority of parents and their children. Hearts and minds campaigns, 1200 parking tickets, excellent school travel planning and letters from the children themselves pleading for a change in behaviour have all failed to create a safe environment in and around our schools.”
The pilot scheme has resulted in a 90% reduction in traffic in around schools during drop off and pick up times. A full consultation with parents and local residents was carried out prior to invoking PSPO legislation which showed 77% or higher approval ratings for each of the first four schools initially chosen to pilot the scheme.
The PSPOs operate from 8-9.30am and 2.30-4pm Monday to Friday during term time and allow the council to treat dangerous parking as a criminal offence where a child’s life has been thought to have been endangered. The CCTV-based enforcement solution is being provided by Videalert using CEaaS (Civil Enforcement as a Service), a fully managed service that uses the company’s DfT Manufacturer Certified hosted platform.
As part of the pilot project thirty three cameras have been installed by OpenView Security on streets around the first four schools to monitor all areas and not just the keep clears. Videalert was the preferred supplier considered to be able to meet the requirements for capturing offending vehicles within the restricted PSPO zones. In addition, Videalert’s solution allows multiple cameras to use a single RDS ‘processor up a pole’ unit. This significantly reduces costs and the level of street furniture that has to be installed and supported. Video evidence packs are automatically compiled for review by Chipside staff to ensure they are 100% correct with all evidential quality video images before FPNs are issued.
Lead Cabinet Member for the PSPO scheme, Cllr Jason Frost, added: “I would be delighted if no FPNs are issued and no-one ends up in court as that would mean that drivers are being responsible and that the journeys for children to and from these schools are safer. It is important for parents and residents to be aware that any fines will go to the Crown and not Havering Council as they would be criminal rather than civil prosecutions.”
Videalert commented: “It is too soon to say whether schemes of this kind will be widely adopted but this unique initiative is receiving widespread attention from local authorities across the country which will be closely monitoring the results. However, such a scheme clearly demonstrates the sophistication and flexibility of our solution for addressing complex traffic and parking scenarios whilst minimising on-street infrastructure and operational costs.”
A story about this scheme appeared in the Sunday Times on 26th February. Click here to read the story