Did anyone else see Horizon last night? It was about parking controls and the congestion charge, and featured undercover filming of Southwark's traffic wardens, and the various, nefarious measures some of them take to issue parking tickets. Very interesting.
For example, when a car is illegally parked, wardens are supposed to wait by the car for 5 minutes before they can issue a ticket, and their hand held computers are programmed to automatically time this from when they press a button on the machine. However, some wardens were pressing this button before they reached the car, and walking up to it slowly so the actual time spent by the car was more like two minutes.
Another tactic, which they are trained not to do, is hang around pay and display car parks waiting for tickets to expire. They were also filmed threatening to ticket a woman whose car had broken down; she had enough money to pay for a couple of hours parking in the spot she'd stopped in, but it wouldn't cover her until the time when she would be able to return to the car (due to having to pick children up from school etc). The wardens would not offer her any dispensation and said she would be ticketed when her paid time expires.
There was also an example of the opposite going on, where wardens were instructed not to ticket cars parked outside a mosque, despite the fact the road was severely blocked by them, for political reasons. I think that angered me as much as some of the sneaky ways of bumping up the number of tickets given out!
What shocked me was that the traffic wardens' remit is to keep the traffic moving, but instead of moving people on when they stopped illegally, the traffic wardens were shown allowing the cars to stay where they were for five minutes just so they could issue a ticket (this was when the drivers were still in the cars). IMHO it would be much better if the traffic wardens did as they were supposed to and asked drivers to move their cars, rather than let them stay where they were for the five minutes it takes to qualify for a ticket. Of course, Tom, you're right that if people didn't park illegally they wouldn't get tickets in the first place. But when I'm on the bus stuck in traffic because someone has stopped in a bus lane I'd far rather they were asked to drive on, rather then be allowed to stay there for 5 minutes blocking my bus just so some warden can issue a parking ticket.
I thought the worst thing was where the wardens prepared a ticket, but then deliberately waited for drivers to drive off before issuing it. This meant the first time the drivers found out about the ticket was four weeks later when they got a letter through the post saying they hadn't paid the fine. Obviously, as they didn't know they had a ticket, they weren't able to pay it within the two weeks required to get a discount on the fine. I think this is completely wrong, especially given that the fines are £50 if you pay within two weeks and £100 after that. (IIRC).
One issue that didn't come up that happened to us recently - although having seen all the other carry on, I'm now not surprised - was that they apparently sometimes issues tickets even when cars are NOT parked there. We got a ticket stating the car had been parked in a particular spot at a particular time, and we KNEW we had never parked there. Challenged, they withdrew the ticket, but as it pointed out on the show, if we'd just rolled over we would have had to shell out £100 - I wonder how many unfortunate people this has happened to?
The piece about uncontrolled parking near or outside the mosque (building not identified) was outrageous. It was stated there were dozens of cars illegally parked with some even blocking the roads.The impression was given that this illegal parking by worshippers is a regular event. Would the same latitude, ie offences competely ignored, be given to other religions? Or any other persons? I suspect not. This sends out a bad message and could incite trouble. The practice of not issuing tickets in these circumstances is dishonest and should be stopped.
> The impression was given that this illegal
> parking by worshippers is a regular event.
I expect it is. I pass three mosques each day and the road outside is always blocked on Friday evenings.
>Would the same latitude, ie offences competely ignored,
> be given to other religions? Or any other persons?
> I suspect not.
But I suspect that you are wrong here. Owing to my love of a lie in these days, I seldom pass a Christian church on a Sunday morning (when, I'm lead to believe, services generally occur), but in one of my old houses (when I had earlier rising times at weekends) the congregation from the neighbouring church always blocked the narrow road for the hour or so of the service, as well as before and afterwards.
I can also report that practitioners of the modern religion known as "trailing your poor kids around the crowded market under the guise of shopping" results in some appalling examples of cars blocking roads, blocking in other cars, and generally terrorising pedestrians. Try standing outside the Sthk Tavern on a Saturday.
>This sends out a bad message and could incite trouble.
Yes, possibly, but IMHO, not half as much as it does to make a post of this nature which could come across as anti-Muslim.