Westminster Council CCTV – when less is more

It was only this July when Westminster City Council announced it was to remove over 50 of its CCTV cameras in a press release headed “Westminster outlines parking vision at select committee – fewer tickets, less CCTV, further innovation”. Westminster City Council told us this was to bring in a more common sense approach which also no doubt gave a good impression to the select committee.


Cllr Daniel Astaire

What won’t be going out in a press release is the decision this week by Councillor Daniel Astaire, Cabinet Member for Business that he is to spend £80,000 on a proof of concept 12 month trial of 8 automatic CCTV cameras. (view source)


The 12 month trial follows a previous four week proof of concept trial of two Zenco Systems’ ZenGrab LaneWatch CCTV cameras in two locations in the City: St Georges Drive, used to monitor contraventions of a coach ban; and Carlton Hill, used to observe vehicles that contravene a 7.5 tonne weight restriction at the junction with Maida Vale.




All about the money


Westminster have long pushed its use of CCTV mobile enforcement vehicles, claiming part of their success was due to their deterrent effect, and not about the numbers of PCNs issued. But in an August 2013 Cabinet Member report these super-duper static ZenGrab cameras are being pushed on the higher number of motorists they can catch compared to using mobile CCTV cars.


Using the old CCTV mobile camera cars Westminster City Council were only able to issue 271 PCNs at the two trial locations for a whole year, whereas in the trial of the new automated cameras it showed Westminster City Council would have issued 1076 PCNs in just four weeks at the same locations.


The report says:


The low number of PCNs across both locations is due to significant limitations with wireless CCTV enforcing MTCs; primarily the reaction of the camera to zoom is not fast enough to match the speed of vehicles to capture sufficient evidence for a definite contravention to be ascertained.


Automated capture has proved more effective and more efficient in identifying and recording non-compliance than other traditional enforcement measures. The cameras seamlessly record all contraventions, and the process required very little manual intervention.

A nice bit of spin by the author of the report the Strategic Director, City Management

Let the money role in.



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