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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 26 November 2009
Profits and losses behind policies for parking fines

• YOU commented in an editorial (Addicted to parking fines, January 8) that parking fines are either a proper means to police traffic regulations, or they are just a “money-making machine”.
Your latest issue shows what some readers, including the victim herself, believe the answer to be (Still time to say sorry for ‘nursery’ parking ticket, Letters, November 19). In this instance, a spurious time was entered on a parking ticket. At the least this is a case of negligence. It is possibly worse than that.
Where, though, lies the ultimate blame? Is it with the individual parking attendant or is it with the fine-hungry, privatised system itself?
In the same edition you report on the awarding of the next contract, worth £55million (NSL ‘wins’ multi-million-pound parking contract).
This example illustrates the crazy illogic of privatisation in parking control.
What we have is a team of so-called parking “officers”, except that they are not council officials, but employees of a for-profit private company.
The financial imperatives are twofold: to raise revenue for the council and to issue enough tickets, presumably, to generate shareholder profit under the terms of the contract. What top-down pressures bear on the parking wardens to boost the numbers?
The madness of the system is that if motorists actually obey parking regulations, then there is a revenue reduction problem – maybe crisis – for the council, and fewer bucks for the privateer.
When some parking warden is on stopwatch alert in the over-hasty issuing of a ticket, or is even minded to falsify documentation that has legal weight, then we might reasonably ask where the fault resides.
Is it with the warden? Or is it with a profit-seeking, results-rewarded company manager? Then there is the senior council officer looking for “quick wins”, to use the pithy words of a deputy to Camden Council’s environment director.
Perhaps, though, it is the ideological dogma that insists on privatisation in public services, come what may.
All three main political parties now seem to believe that this is the only show in town.
Eric Krieger
Haverstock Road, NW5

Fewer tickets

• I WAS concerned to read the letter (Still time to say sorry for ‘nursery’ parking ticket, November 19).
I can confirm that we have looked into the incident and spoken to the enforcement officer who, on this occasion, made a mistake in writing out the ticket. He realised he had written out the ticket before the restrictions began at 8.30am so spoiled and cancelled the ticket. His notes confirm this.
However, the duplicate should have been retained by the officer and cancelled without the ticket being issued to the driver. Unfortunately, the driver was given the spoiled ticket although it had already been cancelled.
We apologise to the motorist, Ms Traverse and I can assure her we will now monitor the performance of the enforcement officer to ensure this does not happen again.
I also noted one of the residents letters made reference to record amounts being taken from revenue from parking fines. Almost 85,000 fewer parking tickets were issued in Camden last year, a drop of more than 20 per cent.
Improving parking services in Camden to make the system fairer and easier to understand for residents is a top commitment for the council. 
If we make a mistake it is extremely important we take steps to put it right but I think it is also important to recognise that although no one likes receiving a parking ticket we do have a responsibility as a council to enforce parking rules to make the borough’s roads safer for everyone who uses them, to protect scarce parking spaces for those who have a right to park there and to reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing.
Cllr Chris Knight
Executive Member Environment

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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