Haringey CCTV cars told to hit ‘illegal’ daily targets for issuing parking tickets

Haringey CCTV car parked illegally in Hornsey

Haringey CCTV car parked illegally in Hornsey - Credit: Archant

Leaked emails have revealed how Haringey CCTV cars – including one that threatened independent businesses in Highgate – were ordered to hit minimum quotas for parking tickets despite the practice being illegal.

Lee Harper of Highgate Butchers

Lee Harper of Highgate Butchers - Credit: Archant

Documents seen by the Ham&High have revealed that Haringey Council CCTV cars were ordered to hit a minimum quota of 260 parking tickets a day – a total of 87,360 a year.

Community leaders and traders in Highgate Village described the practice as “appalling and immoral” and say it proves CCTV cars are a “money making exercise” for the council.

Emails sent between the local authority’s parking manager and supervisors show the combined targets set for parking tickets issued by CCTV cars and wardens across Haringey in 2008 was 121,632.

The emails were sent on April 10, 2008 – 10 days after the government issued guidelines which stated parking fine quota systems were illegal.

Chairman of the Highgate Society, Kirsten de Keyser, said: “Nobody should ever impose targets, that’s appalling. It’s not some kind of profit driven business. They should never use fines and penalties to raise money. It’s immoral and unethical.”

Haringey Council has strongly refuted that any quota system is currently in place.

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The leaked email from April 2008 said: “The (CCTV cars) target for the year is 87,360 We are confident that we can achieve this target given that we are taking on new operators, return of a CCTV manager and the new cameras coming online.”

The emails also show parking wardens in the borough were given a minimum target of issuing 362 parking tickets a day across the team.

Another email to supervisors dated May 7, 2010, said staff were “not performing” to the “average expectation” and threatens staff dismissal or a conduct hearing if improvements were not made.

Last summer the owners of Highgate Butchers feared they would have to close their shop in the village after their supplier was continuously fined when it tried to make deliveries.

In one week the supplier was ticketed three times and landed with a bill of £330 because of a CCTV smart car, run by the council’s external parking contractor On Time, parked.

Reacting to the news of the targets, owner Lee Harper, said: “I’m not surprised, it’s a money generating exercise. We have to pay rates – £925 a month – and we need to have the meat in to sell, so it’s a paradox. I’m one guy trying to make a living.”

Haringey Council said it does not set targets for parking penalties and it is inaccurate to claim it does. It insists the email from 2010 clearly states that there is not a target for penalties.

Its spokesman said: “The email from 2008 is now five years old. We did not set targets after legislation was changed. In that email the officer incorrectly used the term “targets” to refer to forecasts for the following year.”

“These forecasts are common practice, and are designed to give an overview of workload for the coming year, rather than as any measure of staff performance.”